Donald Trump Has Had Mixed Success In Winning Over Former GOP Rivals

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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As Donald Trump attempts to unify the Republican Party after a presidential primary where he routinely bashed his opponents, the presumptive nominee — at this stage — has had mixed success in winning over his former rivals.

Ten of his Republican competitors — some more passionately than others — have said they will support him. Six former GOP presidential candidates either say they can’t support him or haven’t determined yet if they will.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum became the latest former competitor to support Trump, announcing Tuesday on Fox News that he is “100 percent” behind the New York businessman’s campaign.

Here’s the breakdown of which candidates have — and have not — gotten on the Trump train.

Backing Trump

Ben Carson

The former neurosurgeon endorsed Trump in March: “Now, some people have said, ‘Well, why would you get behind a man like Donald Trump?’ I’ll tell you why. First of all, I’ve come to know Donald Trump over the last few years. He is actually a very intelligent man who cares deeply about America.”

Chris Christie

The New Jersey governor endorsed Christie in February: “Donald is a leader. He is a successful person that, like me, isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Our system is broken and it won’t be fixed from the inside. I am proud to offer my endorsement of his candidacy for president.”

Mike Huckabee

In May, the former Arkansas governor tweeted: “I am all in for @realDonaldTrump and urge all the GOP to unite and win back the White House.”

Bobby Jindal

In May, the former Louisiana governor grudgingly offered support: “I do not pretend Donald Trump is the Reaganesque leader we so desperately need, but he is certainly the better of two bad choices.”

[crscore]Rand Paul[/crscore]

In May, Paul acknowledged that he’d vote for Trump. “I’ve always said I’ll endorse the nominee.”

[crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore]

Like Paul, the Florida senator hasn’t enthusiastically embraced Trump, though has said he will “support the Republican nominee.”

Scott Walker

Like Paul and Rubio, the Wisconsin governor has said: “I will support the Republican running against Hillary Clinton in the fall — whoever that is.”

Rick Perry

The former Texas governor said of Trump in May: “He is not a perfect man. But what I do believe is that he loves this country and he will surround himself with capable, experienced people and he will listen to them.”

Rick Santorum

The former Pennsylvania senator said on Tuesday: “I am committed to working with Donald and his administration to ensure that conservative priorities are advanced – not simply judicial nominees, but nominees to key administration positions.”

Jim Gilmore

The former Virginia governor tweeted earlier this month: “The party should unify behind Trump.”

Not Backing Trump

Jeb Bush

After Trump became the presumptive nominee, Bush wrote on Facebook: “Donald Trump has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character. He has not displayed a respect for the Constitution. And, he is not a consistent conservative. These are all reasons why I cannot support his candidacy….In November, I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels, just as I have done my entire life.”

[crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore]

The Texas senator did not endorse Trump after dropping out of the race, and said: “This is a choice every voter is going to have to make and I would note it’s not a choice we as the voters have to make today.”

Carly Fiorina

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO and brief running mate to Ted Cruz has not endorsed Trump though has vowed to do everything “to make sure that Hillary Clinton is not our next president.”

[crscore]Lindsey Graham[/crscore]

The South Carolina senator says he is “not supporting” Trump or Clinton.

John Kasich

The Ohio governor said this week he doesn’t see himself supporting Trump unless the candidate changes. “Unless I see a fundamental change it’s really hard for me to do a merger. If the values are not somewhat similar — if the culture is not somewhat similar — it’s hard to do a merger. If he changes, that’s a whole new ballgame.”

George Pataki

The former New York governor says he isn’t ready to endorse Trump. “Trump needs to articulate a number of thoughtful positions on the issues for me to be able to endorse him.”

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