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Khan fallout: Trump’s relations with GOP take turn for worse

Donald Trump holds a replica of a Purple

Donald Trump holds a replica of a Purple Heart that Louis Dorfman, an Iraq War veteran, gave him at a rally in Ashburn, Va., on Aug. 2, 2016. Credit: EPA / Jim Lo Scalzo

Fewer in GOP have Trump’s back

Donald Trump got no takers when he sent word to Capitol Hill Republicans that he wanted their support in his battle with the Gold Star parents of a dead Muslim U.S. soldier. Now he is getting even.

Trump told The Washington Post that he isn’t endorsing House Speaker Paul Ryan or Sen. John McCain for re-election in their upcoming GOP primaries. (Ryan says he didn’t ask for one.) Both Ryan and McCain, while backing Trump’s candidacy, have sternly condemned his rants against Khizr and Ghazala Khan.

The growing critics’ chorus includes two would-be Trump Cabinet officials. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the Khans “have a right to say whatever it is they want” and Trump’s comments were “inappropriate.” Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said “it could have been handled better.”

Trump campaign surrogate Newt Gingrich said Trump’s comments over the past week have been “very self-destructive,” and called on the first-time candidate to “slow down, take a deep breath and reorganize how he’s operating so that he gets to the standard of a potential president of the United States.”

Maria Comella, a top aide in both Christie’s and Giuliani’s past presidential campaigns, announced she will vote for Hillary Clinton. So did upstate Rep. Richard Hanna, the first congressional Republican to do so.

Late Tuesday night Hewlett-Packard CEO and one-time California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman said she planned on voting for Clinton and donating a “substantial” amount of money to her campaign to defeat Trump, who she labeled a “demagogue.”

Obama to GOP: See a pattern?

President Barack Obama castigated Trump as “unfit” and “woefully unprepared” for the White House. In a challenge to Republicans, he asked: “If you are repeatedly having to say, in very strong terms, that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?” (Video here.)

Only a trickle of Republicans have left the tent lately. Still inside is Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who told Newsday’s Tom Brune that “Trump is wrong” to attack the Khans, but he wants a Republican choosing the next Supreme Court nominees.

Rep. Lee Zeldin of Shirley, defending Trump, said the candidate has agreed the soldier was a hero. But Zeldin acknowledged Trump should not have questioned why the mother did not speak at the Democratic convention.

If you lose the Palin family ...

Dakota Meyer, a Medal of Honor recipient and the son-in-law of 2008 vice presidential candidate and Trump supporter Sarah Palin, tweeted:

“If @realDonaldTrump wants to be the Commander in Chief, he needs to act like one. And that can’t start until he apologizes to the Khans.”

The ex-Marine is married to Palin’s daughter Bristol.

I don’t do duets, kid

The mother of a crying baby at a Trump rally in Virginia didn’t grasp all the subtleties of Trump’s sarcasmic arts.

“I love babies. I hear that baby cry, I like it. ... don’t worry about it,” Trump said at the event Tuesday.

The baby kept crying. Less than two minutes later, Trump said (not angrily), “Actually I was only kidding, you can get the baby out of here. ... I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking.” (Video here.)

Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, campaigning in Florida, took his swing: “Sometimes you wonder who the baby is.”

Poll dance

Trump likes to tweet out polls that show him ahead. And when he’s not?

“There’s something about these polls, there’s something phony,” Trump said of a CNN survey Monday that has him down by 9 points.

The previous week’s CNN poll had him up 3 points after the GOP convention. He tweeted it with a “Thank you!”

Hot month for fundraising

The Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign reported it raised $63 million in July, its largest monthly haul yet, including $8.7 million during a 24-hour period that included her convention speech. The campaign also raised another $27 million through a joint fundraising agreement with the Democratic National Committee and state parties.

The campaign also raised another $27 million through a joint fundraising agreement with the Democratic National Committee and state parties.

Trump on Wednesday reported raising $80 million in July, with $64 million coming from joint fundraising efforts with the Republican National Committee, and $16 million raised directly by his campaign.

Medal madness

A day after Donald Trump received a Purple Heart from a veteran supporter at a campaign rally, he faced calls to return the medal that is awarded to soldiers who have been wounded or killed in war.

Trump, who never served in the military, showcased the medal at a campaign rally in Ashburn, Virginia, telling the crowd he was “honored” by the gift.

“I always wanted to get the Purple Heart,” Trump said. “This was much easier.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a Purple Heart recipient who lost both legs in the Iraq War, shot back on Twitter, telling Trump there is “nothing easy” about earning the medal.

Khizir Khan, the father of fallen U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, criticized Trump for accepting the medal, saying it was disrespectful to the families of those wounded or killed in battle.

“You had the time. You did not serve,” Khan told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “You should have pinned that back to that veteran’s chest and should have hugged him and thanked him.”

Outgoing New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, said he was “appalled” by Trump boasting about the gifted medal.

“The idea to treat it so lightly, I’m amazed,” Bratton told MSNBC.

Kaine & Trump stump in the Sunshine State

Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine sprinted through Florida on Tuesday, addressing supporters at a rally in Daytona Beach, headlining a fundraiser in Fort Lauderdale and later chatting up patrons at Betty’s Soul Food Restaurant. “I think you can see Florida is really, really important to us.” Kaine told a crowd of about 600 at a Daytona State College. Meanwhile, Trump is scheduled to hold campaign events in Daytona Beach and Jacksonville on Wednesday.

What else is happening

  • Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager turned CNN contributor, suggested Tuesday night in an on-air interview that President Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen when he attended Harvard Law School.
  • Republican VP pick Mike Pence said Wednesday that Trump “strongly encouraged” him to go ahead with endorsing House Speaker Paul Ryan, even as Trump has said he won’t back the Republican leader.
  • Clinton left the campaign trail Tuesday to attend the Rhode Island funeral of Mark S. Weiner, a Democratic activist and fundraiser.
  • The shakeout at the Democratic National Committee since the uproar over hacked emails continued, with the departure of the CEO and two other high-level staffers.
  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact is opposed by both Clinton and Trump, but Obama said he will still push to get it passed. “Right now, I’m president, and I’m for it. And I think I’ve got the better argument,” he said.
  • If Trump loses, his old TV gig will not be waiting for him. “He would never be back on ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ as long as I’m here,” NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told Entertainment Weekly.

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