Now he’s gone and done it. A bridge too far. Finally, Republicans are fed up with Donald Trump and going public with their gripes.
Trump’s calculated, racist jihad on Muslims, his call to ban them from coming to the U.S. and hounding their communities here — that’s not the issue, not a biggie.
Picking on Mexicans and Hispanics at every stop, insulting a judge of Mexican descent who is presiding over a fraud trial against Trump University, sealing the borders with the Great Wall of Trump — Republicans can live with that. It’s just a marketing gimmick not some big moral deal.
Insulting women, calling his one of his female opponents ugly in one the debates, flip-flopping on abortion like a tipsy gymnast — hey, it’s part of The Donald’s charm.
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Jeopardizing the GOP’s White House prospects with cavalier whimsy and outrageous escapades, threatening Republican control of the Senate — not great, true, but life goes on.
The list goes on and on, and Republicans have sucked it up and fallen meekly in line.
Those days might be over. Now Trump’s messing with the gravy train. He’s threatening to cut off the lifeblood of the American elections and the two-party system — money.
Trump is balking at raising money for his campaign and the Republican National Committee. That is not cool at all. Republican Inc. cannot withstand a revenue decline like that. The Trump campaign raised a measly $3.1 million in May and had only $1.3 million in the bank. The Donald probably has more than that in his change drawer.
Hillary Clinton raised $28 million in May and had $42 million on hand at the end of the month. Plus, a dedicated super PAC, as independent of the campaign as a Siamese twin, has pot loads of dough to keep the consultants, ad makers and assorted wizards fat and happy. This is how it is supposed to be done.
Adding to the injustice, Trump appears to be spending most of the campaign’s money (which I guess comes from him) on Trump businesses: $4.6 million to his private jet company so far, $423,000 to his Mar-a-Lago Club and $400 to Trump Ice LLC, purveyor of the world’s greatest bottled water. The Republican-industrial complex cannot survive on Trump water alone.
(Brief thought experiment: Imagine if millions of dollars went from the Clinton campaign to Clinton-owned businesses; the Republican Congress would try to send her to Gitmo without a trial.)
If Trump doesn’t turn on the cash flow, it “could have a devastating impact” on the Republican Party, consultant Austin Barbour told The Washington Post.
“Trump’s fundraising is shockingly thin and has created a dark cloud over his ability to be financially competitive with the Clinton machine,” said Scott Reed, who ran Bob Dole’s presidential campaign once upon a time.
It is not just the consultants’ oxen that are getting gored. Big donors are getting restless. The way you buy influence is to pay for it. How can you buy influence and then peddle or profit from it if no one will sell you the stuff? There’s huge demand for influence and clout but for once there is limited supply. It’s an outrage and it’s un-American.
“I have not been asked, and I don’t know anybody in town who has been asked,” an anonymous big fundraiser told the Post, which has been on the story like a hawk. “There is absolutely no discernible presence in D.C. raising on his behalf. And I’m guessing this is not unique to D.C.”
This smells like a scandal about to explode. Call it CheapSkateGate.
The Clinton campaign had 683 employees on staff in May. Trump’s paid staff is reported to be around 70 people. That’s not good for the business of politics.
Republicans, with exceptions you can count with a pair of chopsticks, have willingly compromised their political philosophies, personal morality, dignity and patriotism out of loyalty to the Republican Party and its justly anointed chieftain.
They’ve responded to Trump’s bullying and mockery like pre-pubescent, asthmatic weaklings in stories about English prep schools a hundred years ago. Yes, sir, Mr. Trump, would you like some more of my porridge?
But mess with my cut from a $10 million ad buy, well, you got a problem.
Dick Meyer is chief Washington correspondent for the Scripps Washington Bureau and DecodeDC.
©2016 Scripps Washington Bureau