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GOP Warms to Trump

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Establishment Republicans are warming to the idea of Donald Trump as the GOP standard-bearer.

Two House Republican committee chairmen, Reps. Bill Shuster (Pa.) and Jeff Miller (Fla.), announced their support for Trump on Thursday. And sources said more rank-and-file Republicans are expected to follow suit, including longtime Rep. John Duncan Jr. (Tenn.).

Furthermore, regular meetings between House lawmakers and top Trump aides, once sparsely attend, have suddenly become must-see events.

Trump’s convention manager, Paul Manafort, huddled with House Republicans on Thursday in a meeting described by one attendee as “standing room only.”
Among the Republicans in attendance were Pennsylvania Reps. Tim Murphy and Mike Kelly. Neither have endorsed Trump though Kelly said he voted for him in Tuesday’s presidential primary.

Trump supporter Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) noted the jump in attendance after attending Thursday’s meeting at the Capitol Hill Club next to the Republican party headquarters.

“A month ago when we started, there were a lot of empty seats. Today it was packed,” Reed said.

“The realization is that Donald Trump is going to be our nominee,” Reed said. “We’re coming to the end of the process; it’s time to unite the party and take on Hillary Clinton.”

Trump is by no means the establishment favorite at this point.

Some conservatives say they’re embarrassed by the thought that their party might put him up as their nominee for president.

And many Republicans believe Trump will be a disastrous general election candidate that will cost the party not just the White House but also majority control in the Senate and potentially the House.

There is a movement of anti-Trump conservatives, led by operatives with ties to influential establishment figures who are hellbent on stopping Trump at any cost.

And the backlash against the front-runner has been strong enough that lawmakers who once despised Ted Cruz — Sen. Lindsey Graham is the case study here — have thrown their support behind the Texas Republican, believing he’s the last hope to stop Trump.

A senior adviser to the Never Trump PAC dismissed the latest round of endorsements and scolded the lawmakers who have thrown their support behind Trump.


Source: Scott Wong and Jonathan Easley, http://thehill.com