WASHINGTON — The increasing likelihood that New York businessman Donald Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee has GOP members on Capitol Hill much less excited than Trump’s supporters.
South Carolina Republican Sen. [crscore]Lindsey Graham[/crscore], a former presidential candidate, told reporters that a Trump nomination would guarantee a Hillary Clinton win in the general election, and that Republicans in the upper chamber would have to deal with a Supreme Court justice appointed by Clinton.
“If Hillary Clinton wins, which she is most likely to do, if Donald Trump is the nominee, and she sends somebody that’s qualified, I will vote for them and the party is likely to try to filibuster,” Graham said.
He explained, “And I’m telling them now what I’m telling them then. I agree with you. This is not the time to replace a Supreme Court justice in an election year. It’s not consistent with the way the Senate has operated, but what is consistent with the way the Senate has operated is that an election has consequences.”
Graham believes Trump’s nomination is “likely” unless there’s “consolidation” behind one other candidate, while the others drop out of the race.
“We’re likely to lose the last best chance in a long time to win the White House. I think the consequences of us losing are going to be monumental for domestic and foreign policy and the court,” he said.
Utah Republican [crscore]Jason Chaffetz[/crscore], chairman of the House Oversight Committee and a [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore] supporter, told the Daily Caller that he would work with anybody who is in the White House.
“But my job is not to cheerlead for those people. I want to hold them accountable no matter who it is — Republican or Democrat,” Chaffetz added.
House Speaker [crscore]Paul Ryan[/crscore], who appears to be on different sides of key issues than Trump, such as trade, immigration, and domestic energy, told TheDC at a press conference on Thursday that he only plans to work with whoever GOP nominee is.
When pressed further later on, Ryan said, “We’re Republicans. We all have individual ideas, and we gravitate from the same principles, and we’ll be applying those principles and offering people a choice.”
Texas Republican Sen. [crscore]John Cornyn[/crscore] admitted to being surprised at Trump’s current success in the primary.
“Everything I thought I knew about politics is out the window,” said Cornyn, when asked Wednesday about Trump, Bloomberg News reported.
Others, however, are disappointed with the New York billionaire’s “inconsistencies.”
“Mr. Trump’s inconsistencies and shifts on national security, the free market and protecting the unborn and the traditional family are indications of dissimulation,” Arizona Republican Rep. [crscore]Trent Franks[/crscore] said in a statement.
Trump managed to pick up his first two endorsements this past week in the House. New York Rep. [crscore]Chris Collins[/crscore], whose district includes Erie County, an area where the Republican Party held a presidential straw poll two weeks ago and Trump prevailed, threw his support behind Trump. California Republican Rep. [crscore]Duncan Hunter[/crscore] also endorsed Trump, calling him “a leader.”