GOP divided over whether to support Trump
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It's been two days since Donald Trump nailed down the Republican nomination for President. But the Grand Old Party appears more deeply divided than ever, both in Washington and in Illinois.
One outspoken former Congressman from the Northwest Suburbs says the Republican civil war is now so bitter he thinks the party's feuding factions will never come back together.
“Paul Ryan would rather have Hillary Clinton as your President than Donald Trump!” said former congressman and radio talk show host Joe Walsh.
At a point when party leaders usually rally around their presumed nominee, Ryan declined to endorse Trump Thursday.
“I'm just not ready to do that. Though I hope to,” Ryan said.
“What a bunch of bull crap that is! The Republican voters spoke,” Walsh added.
But Illinois' top elected Republican officials are running away from Trump. Like House Speaker Ryan, both Sen. Mark Kirk and Gov. Rauner once said they would support the Republican nominee for President. Now, they plan to skip the party convention in Cleveland.
Aides to Rauner said he won't endorse at all. And aides to Kirk, who faces a tough re-election campaign this fall, emailed FOX 32 a Kirk quote saying, "I've stayed way out of that."
Also staying way out for now is the chairman of the county board in west suburban DuPage, once a Republican stronghold, but now increasingly Democratic. Dan Cronin said Trump will hurt Republican efforts to win back suburban seats in the Illinois house and senate.
“But I'm real concerned about his tone, his demeanor, what he said about minorities and women. I've got three daughters, you know. They're totally turned off by Trump. They have no intention of voting for Donald Trump,” said Cronin.
Another sign of the scorn top Republicans feel for Trump is the party's four most recent Republican nominees for president are not endorsing him and plan to skip the Cleveland convention. That's both George Bushes, as well as John McCain and Mitt Romney.