Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, quietly scolded Donald Trump in an interview with CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. Although Priebus didn't call out Trump by name, CNN's Jake Tapper made it clear he was targeting Trump when he told Priebus "many Republicans are very concerned about the tone and tenor of the Republican race, especially when it comes to how Latinos are hearing this Republican race," and then asked whether this tone would be a problem for the party. Priebus, who previously scolded Trump for his choice of words, gave a pointed response made it clear that the language and insults being used by candidates like Trump wasn't being ignored. Could this and the other scoldings Trump has received from the RNB hurt his chances of winning the Republican nomination? Many Republicans are certain that it will.
Tapper said former Texas Gov. Rick Perry shared concerns that the Republican party could lose the chance to regain the White House if candidates like Trump continue to use insulting language toward minorities like Latinos. During a recent speech where he announced that he would no longer be running for president, Perry said, "Demeaning people of Hispanic heritage is not just ignorant. It betrays the example of Christ." His comment was in reference to Trump, who said Mexican immigrants are "rapists" and are "bringing drugs [and] crime," just before announcing his immigration plan to deport all undocumented immigrants and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Tapper asked Priebus whether he was concerned that any of the Republican candidates might cross the line while talking about Latinos "to the point that it might actually cost you the White House?" In response, Priebus clearly said all of the candidates will be held accountable for their choice of words:
Well, look, I have said many times, the way you communicate and tone is very important. And, sometimes, it's not what you say, but it's how you say it. ... At the end of the day, each candidate is going to be accountable for their own words and their own mouth. And so they should proceed with caution.
Priebus personally reached out to Trump after his initial comments about Mexican immigrants and asked him to "tone it down," according to The Washington Post. Then, after Trump claimed that Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was held as a prisoner of war during Vietnam, wasn't necessarily a war hero, the RNC issued a public statement condemning Trump's comments.
Now, this is the third time Trump has been directly or indirectly targeted by the RNC — and not in a nice way. Many Republicans have already spoken out against Trump, saying that his language would only hurt the party's chances of getting minority votes. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday that he really doesn't think it's likely that Trump will win the Republican nomination, according to The Hill:
It seems to me common sense says that at some point, we have to start talking about what are different solutions people are going to offer so that the public can choose what I am voting for instead of, you know, give me some more insulting words that don't have anything to do with trying to get something done.
Barbour said that right now people are dissatisfied with the government and Trump "plays to that through celebrity and insults and everybody is stupid," according to The Hill. Barbour said that that strategy won't last once people want to hear about policy propositions.
Further, despite the fact that the RNC had all Republican candidates sign a "loyalty pledge" promising to support whomever the party chose as its 2016 candidate for president, former New York Gov. George Pataki already said he would not support Trump should he be chosen, according to CNN.
And, even more troubling for Trump, one of the nation's top polling analysts said Trump is unlikely to win the Republican nomination "because he's not really a Republican," according to Business Insider. Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of the data-journalism website FiveThirtyEight, told Business Insider that Trump is far to the right on immigration, but that he wants to tax the rich and supports "socialized medicine." Those characteristics combined with the RNC constantly scolding his rhetoric may keep him from the nomination.