Civil War was the top-grossing feature this weekend—and not just the Marvel film.
In the days since Donald Trump secured the GOP nomination, the Republican Party split has become a chasm, as Republicans are choosing sides on whether to embrace their bombastic standard-bearer. Conservatives are doubling down on the #NeverTrump movement, with some even joining Hillary Clinton‘s effort. Others are making noise about a third-party candidate as a way of spoiling Trump’s candidacy. Only two of the five most recent GOP nominees are backing Trump, and only one—Bob Dole—will attend the convention in July.
On Thursday, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he wasn’t yet ready to embrace Trump, and on Friday RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called on the presumptive nominee to adjust his tone to win a general election—before rejecting the notion that Trump is the leader of his party. The pair are set to meet with Trump this week in Washington, though the prospects for reconciliation don’t look good.
“I told Reince that I thought it was totally inappropriate what Paul Ryan said and thought it was good for me politically,” Trump said in a statement Friday, later telling NBC’s Meet the Press he felt “blindsided.” “But Reince feels, and I’m okay with that, that we should meet before we go our separate ways. So I guess the meeting will take place and who knows what will happen.”
As Ryan seeks to preserve his “opportunity agenda” for the GOP, which was crafted to grow the party by reaching out to a more diverse coalition, Trump’s team is rejecting it. “It’s [Trump’s] agenda that has just been cemented as what the American people or at least Republicans and independents who voted for him want,” said Trump convention manager Paul Manafort on Fox News Sunday. Trump himself left the door open to breaking with a century of tradition and removing Ryan as the official chairman of the GOP convention if he doesn’t fall in line.
Meanwhile GOP lawmakers up and down the ticket are being forced to decide whether to embrace Trump—and thereby risk having to answer for every controversial policy and statement over the next six months—or abandon him and face a backlash from their base. Seeking to enforce unity, the RNC is telling potential convention volunteers who oppose Trump to look elsewhere in July.
Over the weekend, Trump fired back at Mitt Romney, calling him “ungrateful” for the support—financial and otherwise—he offered in 2012. And Trump has a point. He held fundraisers for both Romney and Ryan in 2012, and provided the former Massachusetts governor with a boost when he sought to unify the party. It only highlighted the extent to which Republicans courted the high-profile endorser and donor-turned-candidate in the years leading up to 2016. Likewise, Trump said Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham‘s decisions to not support him called into question their honor, because they signed a loyalty pledge to the eventual nominee last year. As Trump allies argue, is there any doubt his former rivals would call into question Trump’s honor if he balked at endorsing if they were the nominee?
Trump is unbowed, promising in a tweet Monday morning, “I will win the election against Crooked Hillary despite the people in the Republican Party that are currently and selfishly opposed to me!” To do that he will have to win over more voters than he loses from the traditional GOP coalition, an effort he is beginning with a renewed focus on populism. Trump adjusted his position on two key policy issues over the weekend to that end, suggesting that his tax plan would ultimately raise rates for those with higher incomes and expressing openness to raising the minimum wage.
Here are your must-reads:
Republican Party Says Convention Volunteers Can’t Knock Donald Trump
The Republican National Committee tells the rank-and-file to fall in line [TIME]
Clinton’s Wonky Policies of Fine-Grained Complexity Contrast with Rivals’ Grandiose Ideas
Her platform is now twice as long as Hamlet [Washington Post]
World Leaders Assess a Potential Donald Trump Presidency
Some allies are in a wait-and-see mode [Wall Street Journal]
2016: A Billionaire and Millionaire in the Year of Populism
One of them will be the next president [Associated Press]
Financial Sector Gives Hillary Clinton a Boost
Some Wall Street donations shift from GOP candidates who have exited the race [Wall Street Journal]
“I’m not going to run an ugly race. I am going to run a race based on issues.” — Hillary Clinton to CBS’s Face the Nation, even as her campaign steps up its attacks on Donald Trump
“I’m going to do what I have to do — I have millions of people that voted for me. So I have to stay true to my principles also. And I’m a conservative, but don’t forget, this is called the Republican Party. It’s not called the Conservative Party.” — Donald Trump on ABC’s This Week
Bits and Bites
Deadline Looms for North Carolina’s LGBT Law [Associated Press]
Hillary Clinton: FBI Hasn’t Asked for Interview [Wall Street Journal]
In Arkansas, a Preview of Democratic Attacks to Come [New York Times]