Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event on August 3, 2016 in Daytona, Florida. (AFP photo)
A sense of panic is rising among Republican elected officials over GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’ missteps and the inability of his campaign staff to control him.
Trump has insisted that his presidential campaign is united despite reports of deep divisions in the Republican Party.
GOP party leaders have even begun to discuss what to do if their unpredictable nominee suddenly quits the race for the White House.
“A sense of panic is rising” among GOP elected officials and operatives, said Ed Rogers, a former Republican official during the George W. Bush administration.
“Serious, senior lawyers have begun researching how the rules would work if the party had to replace Trump on the ticket,” another senior GOP figure has confirmed.
Although it is extremely unlikely that Trump would quit the race, the fact that Republican officials were carrying out such public discussions underscores how far panic has spread.
The rising concerns were prompted by Trump’s actions in the last few days, including his extended clash with the family of a Muslim soldier killed in Iraq, his meaningful refusal to endorse House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain in their congressional re-election bids and even telling the mother of a crying baby to leave a rally.
“He just seems willfully destructive and willfully sort of sadistic about other Republicans,” said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based GOP consultant who has spoken out against Trump for more than a year. “Finally, people are like, ‘No more. We’re done. We’re not playing this game anymore.’”
Trumps continuing blunders have also helped restore Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to a solid lead in most polls, renewing fears among Republican officials that Trump could drag down other GOP candidates with him.
According to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday, the former secretary of state has 43 percent of the votes as compared to Trump enjoying only a 35-percent support.
A Gallup poll released early last month found that Trump and Clinton are among the worst-rated presidential candidates of the last 70 years.