Some Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they'd prefer if Donald Trump were not running for president. Politicians and leaders, like Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney, seem, at least to a degree, to refuse to buy what Trump is selling. So far, however, senior ranking GOP party members have been less daring. This week, with Trump’s gaffe’s piling up by the minute, does the GOP want Trump to drop out?
Though top GOP officials from Paul Ryan to Mitch McConnell may have proclaimed to millions that they'd like to see Trump in the White House, there's no knowing what they might be rooting for behind the scenes. According to ABC News, the GOP can't force Trump to withdraw. In other words, if the GOP establishment doesn't want to see Trump or Hillary Clinton sworn in this January, it can only be praying for one thing: that he drops out of the race voluntarily.
The two goals that any successful politician, like Ryan and Sen. John McCain, should have right now are getting themselves re-elected to Congress and getting a Republican into the White House. This week, Trump seems to have endangered both of those prospects. On Tuesday, Trump told the Washington Post that he was not supporting Ryan in his primary in Wisconsin next week, nor McCain in his Arizona primary. Trump echoed the phrase Ryan used in reference to his Trump endorsement — or, really, the lack thereof — earlier this year, "I'm not quite there yet," demonstrating that their goals are not exactly aligned.
As far as getting a Republican into the White House, this week's polls have shown Trump's prospects there are growing ever slimmer. CNN's David Wright reported that state polls released Thursday show Clinton leading over Trump in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Hampshire, in some cases by double digits. According to Politico's Gabriel Debenedetti, there are also signs that Trump could lose in Colorado, which happens to be a pivotal swing state.
Though Trump's endorsement may not be pivotal for Ryan and McCain, and polls can far from guarantee the outcome of the election in November, there's a good chance those two factors may be the reminders the GOP leadership needs to start crossing their fingers for Trump's withdrawal. If that's not enough for them, there is, of course, more.
This week, Trump engaged in what Marco Rubio called "an unfortunate feud" with the Khans, parents of a Muslim American purple heart recipient. To top that off, Trump also made obnoxious comments about a baby crying during his speech.
On Tuesday, President Obama made an appeal to Republicans, asking them to withdraw their support for Trump: "There has to be a point at which you say, 'enough.'" Regardless of their desire to dump Trump, it's unlikely Republicans would ever say "enough" publicly.