RNC's Priebus takes dim view of
anti-Trump third party talk
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[May 14, 2016]
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the
Republican National Committee sought on Friday to tamp down talk among
some Republicans about the possibility of running a third-party
candidate who would give party supporters a choice beyond Donald Trump.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus introduces Florida
Gov. Rick Scott during a luncheon at the Republican National Committee
Spring Meeting at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida April 21,
2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
In an interview, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said a third-party
candidate would have no hope of actually winning the Nov. 8
presidential election but would instead ensure victory for the
"They may as well jump off the top floor of a building because
that’s what we’d be doing by having a third party," Priebus said.
Priebus has been a vocal advocate for party loyalists to get over
their concerns about Trump and support him since he is on track to
become the presidential nominee and stands as the only real option
for Republicans to win the White House.
He brought Trump together with House of Representatives Speaker Paul
Ryan for a meeting in Washington on Thursday to try to ease Ryan's
concerns about backing the billionaire.
Ryan stopped short of endorsing Trump but said the session was
productive. Priebus said the two men have opened a dialogue.
"My guess is they may even be talking today and through the weekend
(on the phone)," he said.
Priebus said a Democratic victory would allow Democrats to reshape
the conservative majority on the Supreme Court. If Republican donors
sit on the sidelines, Democrats could also take over control of the
U.S. Senate, he said.
"If you don't participate in the presidential election you might as
well kiss away the Senate as well," Priebus said in a message
directed at Republican donors unenthusiastic about Trump. "The
Senate goes as the presidential race goes. They’re inextricably
[to top of second column]
Some Republicans continue to hold out hope that a leading figure in
the party could be persuaded to run for president as a third-party
candidate to give party voters uncomfortable with Trump a candidate
to rally around.
Some speculation has centered around 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, who
has been a frequent critic of Trump. Just this week Romney said
Trump should release his tax records, a public disclosure move that
Romney made in 2012 but which Trump has been resisting.
Some Republicans have been urging Romney to launch an independent
bid for the presidency. He discussed the issue last week with
William Kristol, editor of the conservative-leaning Weekly Standard
magazine, a source close to Romney said.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Alistair Bell)
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