Republicans launch new push to block Trump

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Jun 18, 2016 21:25 IST
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Texas on Friday. (AP)

Republicans leery of their presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, are not giving up. An attempt, called the most organised yet, is underway to stop him at the party convention in July.

The plan is to unbind delegates through a change of rules and let them follow their “conscience” and vote for who they preferred, and not for candidates who won their respective states.

The Washington Post, which first reported this move, called it “the most organised effort so far” to stop Trump and said it was led by “dozens of delegates” who will attend the convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

Unlike previous attempts, such as the “Never Trump” movement by pundits and media figures, delegates can change party rules and do things needed to stop Trump.

The new push follows escalating concerns about Trump over his racist comments about a judge, anti-Muslim remarks and his support for gun reforms that go against the party.

“This literally is an ‘Anybody but Trump’ movement,” a delegate told the Post. Another one said he wakes up “every day struggling to accept that he’s going to be our candidate”.

Many leading Republicans, including some governors, are not supporting Trump. And a senior George W Bush administration Republican has said he, in fact, is voting for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Speaker Paul Ryan, a reluctant Trump backer who will chair the convention, said in a TV interview on Friday he would like delegates to follow their conscience.

And that’s exactly what the new push is based on. 

The Post said delegates involved in this attempt plan to pass a “conscience clause” to unbind delegates from their candidates, and vote for who they want - anyone but Trump.

The plan is serious enough to cause concern. Trump sought to dismiss it, saying in a statement it is an attempt by those “I defeated soundly in the primaries” to take a “second shot”.

Some of the delegates are former supporters of senator Ted Cruz, but they insisted they are not taking cues from anyone and they are not seeking support for anyone. 

Calling the move “silly”, the Republican National Committee said, “There is no organised effort, strategy or leader of this so-called movement. It is nothing more than a media creation.”

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