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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 14, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 42
GOP abandons Trump, Trump abandons Virginia
Section One
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GOP abandons Trump, Trump abandons Virginia

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

In spite of his exultant claim that 'the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to,' Donald Trump is withdrawing campaign resources from the key battleground state of Virginia as GOP leaders turn their backs on him.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told his Republican congressional colleagues in an October 10 conference call that he would no longer defend Trump and would focus instead on maintaining the GOP's imperiled House majority.

Ryan's announcement came after Trump's losing debate performance on October 9, which failed to reassure top Republicans that he could rebound from the now-infamous videotape showing him bragging about groping women.

When news of the conference call broke, Trump launched into a Twitter war with Republican leaders, calling Ryan 'weak and ineffective' and 'disloyal.'

'Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!' Trump tweeted, despite the fact that all scientific polls showed Clinton as the clear winner of their second debate.

Trump also returned to his longstanding feud with GOP senator and former presidential candidate John McCain.

'The very foul-mouthed Sen. John McCain begged for my support during his primary (I gave, he won), then dropped me over locker room remarks!' Trump complained.

Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Reince Priebus assured fellow Republicans that he has 'a great relationship' with Trump and would continue to support the nominee, but behind the scenes, Republican Party resources may be shifting away from the presidential race and toward down-ballot races.

One indication that even the RNC is backing away from Trump came on October 13 when NBC News broke the story that the Trump campaign is 'pulling out of Virginia.'

'The decision came from Trump's headquarters in New York and was announced on a conference call late Wednesday [October 12] that left some Republican Party operatives in the state blindsided,' NBC reported. 'Two staffers directly involved in the GOP's efforts in Virginia confirmed the decision.'

'This says the RNC is not helping' Trump to campaign in the state, one source told NBC.

Trump's former Virginia state chairman, Corey Stewart, said the decision to pull staff out of Virginia 'makes it next to impossible to win the state.' Stewart was fired by Trump October 10, after leading a protest outside the RNC headquarters.

According to Stewart, the RNC had not followed through on promises to help Trump win Virginia, and Trump's own campaign had not spent enough money on winning the state.

'They have not been spending money on an ad campaign for months,' Stewart complained. 'They've had a fraction of the number of paid staff as the Clinton campaign, despite promises by the RNC to boost that up.'

President Barack Obama carried Virginia in 2008 and again in 2012 after decades of Republican presidential victories there. Trump has trailed Clinton in every poll in Virginia since August, by a margin that's only widened over the last month. According to the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, Clinton is up by 7.5 points in the state.

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GOP abandons Trump, Trump abandons Virginia
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