GOP’s ‘Apocalypse Now’

Donald Trump’s greet-the-morning tweet on Wednesday was all sunny-side up: “There is great unity in my campaign, perhaps greater than ever before.” The day looked darker to Trump allies such as Newt Gingrich, who told The Washington Post:

“The current race is which of these two is the more unacceptable, because right now neither of them is acceptable,” he said. “Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is.”

CNN and others reported that his aides are increasingly frustrated by the no-win fights Trump picks instead of staying focused on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Fox News and NBC News reported big-name allies, including Gingrich, are trying to set up an “intervention.”

Rudy Giuliani told Fox Business Network on Thursday morning there was no intervention in the works and blamed Gingrich for fueling reports of such a meeting.

So despairing were Republican officials that some were examining how they could replace him as the nominee if he dropped out, ABC News said. But there was absolutely no sign that has crossed Trump’s mind, even as a new Fox News poll showed him sinking to a 10-point deficit.

Ticket splitting

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A day after Trump made it a point to point out he was not endorsing House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has a primary challenger, vice presidential nominee Mike Pence did just that.

Pence said Trump supported his decision to back Ryan when he told him about it. But Trump has also been talking up Ryan’s opponent, businessman Paul Nehlen, infuriating Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a close ally of Ryan and fellow Wisconsinite, said NBC News and The New York Times.

Ryan took his time to endorse Trump and has criticized him frequently.

Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, in a Thursday interview with “CBS This Morning” said Trump “is going to support Paul Ryan.”

“He didn’t take a position in the primary,” Manafort said. “He’s not taking a position in many primaries. That’s not the news. The news is the two of them working together to elect a Republican Congress and a Republican president, and I think you’re going to see that.”

Donor despair

Trump’s behavior, including his attacks on the parents of a Muslim U.S. soldier who died a hero in Iraq, has shaken fundraisers.

“I don’t know what he’s doing — trying to commit suicide?” Stan Hubbard, a Minnesota-based top donor to a pro-Trump super PAC, told BuzzFeed.

Ed Rollins, co-chairman of the super PAC, said, “Sometimes great racehorses can’t stay on the track, they wander all over the place, they put blinders on them. We need to put a blinder on Donald Trump.”

Long Island fundraiser expected to draw $1M for Trump

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Trump is expected to appear at a $5,000-per-person fundraiser being held on Long Island Thursday evening.

Republicans say they expect to raise $1 million for Trump’s campaign at a cocktail reception being hosted at the home of a Nissequogue couple, Steve and Carolyn Louro.

Suffolk GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle told Newsday’s Scott Eidler that some 200 contributors are expected, including Reps. Peter King (R-Seaford) and Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) and state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport).

LaValle highlighted the fact that Trump will appear in western Suffolk, in contrast to past appearances by Trump in the Hamptons. “It’s not summer money, this is hard-core local money, real straight local money coming into the campaign.”

His nature and hers

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“If I were @HillaryClinton, I might embark on summer tour of America’s splendid national parks & cede the stage entirely to @realDonaldTrump,” tweeted former Barack Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod.

Up and ups

Post-convention poll bounces usually settle at least partly back to earth, but there’s a chance Hillary Clinton’s could stay up or even go higher amid the latest self-inflicted recent turmoil in the Donald Trump campaign, writes Newsday’s William Goldschlag.

A Fox News poll shows Clinton with a 10-point edge nationally, and she’s also ahead in the battleground states of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Florida. She’s up by 15 points in New Hampshire, 11 points in Pennsylvania and 6 points in Florida, according to polls released Thursday.

Trump, at a campaign rally Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida, said he was puzzled by the polling numbers, saying they don’t reflect the thousands of supporters he draws to his campaign events.

“I don’t know why we’re not leading by a lot,” Trump said. “Maybe crowds don’t make the difference.”

Made in U.S.A. or knot

Clinton visited a Denver tie factory to ridicule her opponent’s practice of outsourcing the manufacture of Trump-branded apparel.

“I really would like him to explain why he paid Chinese workers to make Trump ties,” she said at the Knotty Tie Company.

Not tough enough

Outgoing New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, ridiculing Trump’s depiction of himself as a tough guy, said, “I wonder if Mr. Trump’s ever taken a punch in his life.”

Bratton said on “CBS This Morning” that the thought of Trump winning “scares the hell out of me.” Read the story by Newsday’s Laura Figueroa and Emily Ngo.

What else is happening

  • Trump’s core supporters sent a flood of small donations his way in July, erasing most of his fundraising deficit versus Clinton, The New York Times reported.
  • Ryan may not need Trump’s endorsement. He is more popular than Trump among both Republicans and voters overall in Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Few Trump or Clinton supporters have close friends on the other side, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
  • One of Georgia’s 16 Republican presidential electors on the November ballot says that if Trump wins the state, he might not cast his electoral-college vote for him. That’s allowed under Georgia law.
  • Trump told a rally in Jacksonville, Florida, that he met backstage with Gold Star families who support him.
  • A pro-Clinton super PAC is cutting its near-term ad buys in Colorado because of growing confidence in the battleground state, Politico says.
  • A Republican congressman from Colorado has released a campaign ad vowing to “stand up” to Trump. The TV ad by Rep. Mike Coffman marks the first time this election season that a House Republican has used anti-Trump messaging in a paid advertisement.

President Barack Obama experienced a post-convention bump in his approval ratings — 54 percent of voters polled by CNN had a favorable opinion of Obama, his highest rating yet in the past three years of the network’s national poll.