Sunday 4 December 2016

Trump forced to fire 'racist' aide as poll surge puts him clearly ahead

Mark Halperin Washington

Published 03/08/2015 | 02:30

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Donald Trump has fired a political aide over alleged racist Facebook postings as a new poll shows him surging ahead in the race to become the Republican presidential candidate.

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As the poll put Trump on 19pc ahead of nearest challenger Scott Walker on 15pc, the billionaire again warned he might go on a solo run for the White House.

"If I am not treated fairly by the Republican party, I very well might consider that," Trump said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski announced the firing of Sam Nunberg, an on-again, off-again Trump aide who has been accused of making racist posts on Facebook.

Mr Nunberg claims he doesn't remember writing the offensive remarks, which use racial epithets and make mocking references to President Barack Obama's African heritage.

In a TV interview yesterday, Trump (right) pointedly refused to comply with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus's call for Republican presidential candidates to pledge not to run third-party campaigns if they do not get the nomination.

The 'Wall Street Journal' poll found that Trump is the top choice of 19pc of primary voters, with Scott Walker coming in second place with 15pc. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is on 14pc while 10pc support retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

When Trump began his campaign in June, he attracted just 1pc of national support.

Trump's poll performance gives him a boost ahead of Thursday's prime-time Republican primary debate, hosted by Fox and Facebook.

Only the top 10 candidates - calculated by an average of the last five major polls - will be eligible to participate in the debate.

In another interview yesterday, Trump backed vice-president Joe Biden in his rumoured challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

"I think that Biden would have a good chance at beating her now," Trump said.

"I don't think he could've beaten her six months ago, or even three months ago.

"I think the email scandal is going to be a devastating blow for Hillary, if you have an honourable prosecutor, which we'll see whether or not that happens, because they're all Democrats."

Trump was referring to Mrs Clinton's decision to use a private email account and server when she was secretary of state, which has raised questions about the security of her emails and the integrity of the historical archive.

Asked whether he will release his own tax returns, as a number of other presidential contenders, including Mrs Clinton, already have done, Trump took the opportunity to take another shot at the Democrat.

"I have no major problem with it," he said. "But I may tie them to a release of Hillary's emails."

Trump did not say what percentage of his income he pays in taxes, and was open about the efforts he makes to keep his rates low.

"I fight like hell to pay as little as possible for two reasons," Trump said. "Number one, I'm a businessman.  And that's the way you're supposed to do it.

"And you put the money back into your company and employees and all of that.

"But the other reason is that I hate the way our government spends our taxes.

"I hate the way they waste our money. Trillions and trillions of dollars of waste and abuse.

"And I hate it."

Irish Independent

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