Republican chief is not worried as Trump builds a lead in new polls
Published 28/07/2015 | 02:30
Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus has said he's not worried that billionaire Donald Trump could eventually run for president.
Mr Trump, the outspoken New York real estate magnate and reality television star, has vilified the Republican establishment in recent weeks by attacking his critics by name, and making controversial remarks about immigration.
Although he is still considered a long shot in the Republican race, he has risen to the top in the polls and some observers have suggested that he might even run for president as an independent candidate.
However, Mr Priebus dismissed that speculation.
Trump moved to the top of the 2016 Republican presidential field in a CNN poll released on Sunday, edging out rival Jeb Bush and gaining support from Republicans in the last month despite a series of controversial statements.
Mr Trump was backed by 18pc of Republicans in the CNN poll, which was conducted after his July 18 criticism of Republican Senator John McCain's war record, with Bush, a former Florida governor, at 15pc.
"There is a movement going on. This is more than me," Trump said on CNN, adding that the poll results were not surprising.
"People are tired of these incompetent politicians in Washington that can't get anything done," he said.
Trump's support among Republicans increased six points since late June, despite a flood of rebukes after Trump said McCain - a former Navy pilot who was tortured during more than five years in captivity during the Vietnam War - was not a war hero because he was captured.
Trump and Bush were joined near the top of the pack by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who had 10pc support among the Republican and Republican-leaning independent registered voters in the CNN poll.
None of the other Republican candidates gained double-digit support. Sixteen Republicans are running for the party's presidential nomination in the November 2016 election.
The CNN poll was conducted between July 22-25 among 1,017 adults.
Separately, two NBC News-Marist polls released on Sunday showed Trump doing well in a pair of states holding key early contests in the Republican nomination race.
In New Hampshire, Trump leads the Republican field with the support of 21pc of potential primary voters, followed by Bush at 14pc. In Iowa, Walker leads the Republican field at 19pc among potential Republican caucus participants, with Trump currently in second place at 17pc.
Trump has been criticised by fellow Republican candidates and party leaders for making incendiary comments about Mexican immigrants, belittling McCain's war record and for his personal attacks against rival Republican White House contenders such as Senator Lindsey Graham and former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Trump gave out Graham's private cell phone number at a rally last week.
"I don't think Mr Trump is qualified to be Commander in Chief. I think he is bankrupt when it comes to all the qualities you need to lead the men and women in uniform and to lead a great nation," Graham said.
Perry, appearing on CNN, said Trump's candidacy "is not necessarily moving the cause of conservatism forward".