Thursday 23 November 2017

One-fifth of Republicans won't vote for Trump

Donald Trump: divisive figure. Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Donald Trump: divisive figure. Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
A protester is removed from Donald Trump’s event in Detroit at which he outlined his economic policy. Photo: Seán Proctor/Bloomberg

Grant Smith

Nearly one-fifth of registered Republicans want Donald Trump to drop out of the race for the White House, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, reflecting the turmoil his candidacy has sown within his party.

Some 19pc think he should drop out, while 70pc think he should stay in and 10pc don't know, according to the poll of 396 registered Republicans.

The poll has a margin of error of six percentage points.

Among all registered voters, some 44pc want Mr Trump to drop out. That is based on a survey of 1,162 registered voters, with a margin of error of three percentage points. That 44pc is nine points higher than Trump's support for the presidency in the latest Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll registered on Monday.

The figures underscore deep divisions within the Republican Party over Mr Trump's candidacy. A number of prominent Republicans have declined to endorse him, citing his fiery rhetoric and policy proposals, such as building a wall along the US-Mexican border and temporarily banning Muslims from entering the country.

Mr Trump found himself embroiled in yet another controversy on Tuesday after saying at a rally that gun rights activists could act to stop Mrs Clinton from nominating liberal Supreme Court justices - a comment that his campaign said had been misinterpreted, but which Clinton's campaign called "dangerous."

"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks," Mr Trump said at the rally at the University of North Carolina.

"Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know..." he continued. The US Constitution's Second Amendment guarantees a right to keep and bear arms.

As Mr Trump and his supporters sought to defuse the incident and insisted that he was merely talking about gun rights activists voting for him, rather than Ms Clinton, the Secret Service, which is responsible for the security of the president - as well as the two presidential candidates - said it was "aware" of the comments.

Read more: Secret Service warns tycoon after furore over gun remarks

Two weeks ago, Mr Trump sparked huge controversy when he called on Russia to hack into Mrs Clinton's emails. The following day, amid outcry from people across the political spectrum, he claimed that he had simply been joking.

Mrs Clinton's campaign responded to Mr Trump's 'Second Amendment' comments, saying they were proof of his unsuitability for the office.

"This is simple; what Trump said was dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the US should not be suggesting violence in any way," said a spokesperson.

The comments came one day after 50 senior Republican national officials had published a letter in which they said Mr Trump was unsuitable to occupy the White House.

The letter said: "From a foreign-policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be president and commander-in-chief. Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous president."

Among those who signed the high-profile people was General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and National Security Agency.

On Tuesday, Mr Hayden said on CNN that he was startled by Mr Trump's latest comment.

He said it was either a "very bad-taste" joke about political assassination or simply an indication of Mr Trump's insensitivity to the prevalence of assassination in American politics, adding: "That is something we never come close to."

Mr Trump's campaign later rejected the charge that the candidate was doing anything more than calling for supporters of the Second Amendment to rally around him.

"It's called the power of unification - Second Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power," Jason Miller, the campaign's senior communications adviser, said.

"This year, they will be voting in record numbers - and it won't be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump."

Mr Trump had previously stirred criticism for engaging in a spat with the parents of a Muslim US soldier who was killed in Iraq. Republican Senator Susan Collins said on Monday that dispute led her to announce that she would not vote for Mr Trump.

In addition, 50 prominent national-security experts signed an open letter, saying they would not vote for Mr Trump as he "lacks the character, values, and experience" to be president.

Mr Trump dismissed the group as part of the Washington establishment that he blames for many of the US's problems.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News