Trump Effectively Declares War on |Concept of Republican Party Unity

     (CN) — The candidate who keeps on giving to the news media, anyway effectively declared war on the concept of Republican party unity Tuesday, refusing to endorse three of the GOP’s leading lights House Speaker Paul Ryan, Arizona Sen. John McCain and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
     As his forums, Trump used interviews with The Washington Post and the Fox News channel’s O’Reilly Factor.
     All three Republicans have primary challengers and each disapproved of Trump’s criticism of the Muslim American parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq.
     “I’m just not there yet,” Trump told The Washington Post when asked about Ryan. His words echoing Ryan’s disinclination to embrace Trump in the Spring at least until the candidate assured him he would adopt Republican party principles during his campaign.
     On Monday, Trump tweeted kind words for the speaker’s underdog primary opponent, Wisconsin businessman Paul Nehlen and told The Washington Post that Ryan had asked for his support, a claim the Speaker’s spokesman denied.
     The Ryan camp responded by releasing a statement that said “Neither Speaker Ryan nor anyone on his team has ever asked for Donald Trump’s endorsement.”
     “And we are confident in a victory next week regardless,” said Zack Roday, Ryan’s campaign spokesman. The latest controversy started by Trump threatens to shatter the delicate alliance between Trump and the Republican establishment.
     It also raised the spector of GOP office holders backing off on their endorsement of the billionaire real estate mogul and reality television star.
     So far, none have.Trump said he refused to endorse McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, for not doing enough for veterans.
     He tells O’Reilly in an interview to be aired later Tuesday night, that he’s unhappy with what “[McCain] has done for veterans.
     “I’ve never been there with John McCain because I’ve always felt that he should have done a much better job for the vets,” Trump said, repeating criticisms he also shared with The Washington Post.
     As for Ayotte, who is running for a second Senate term and skipped the Republican National Convention, Trump said: “You have a Kelly Ayotte who doesn’t want to talk about Trump, but I’m beating her in the polls by a lot.”
     “We need loyal people in this country,” Trump said. “We need fighters in this country. We don’t need weak people.”
     
     The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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