- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2016

Rep. Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania Republican, said Thursday that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump seems “hell-bent” at times on blowing what should be a winnable election for Republicans.

“All these incendiary comments and these unforced errors, I think, are hurting the campaign,” Mr. Dent said on MSNBC.

“I mean, it just seems that he’s, at times, hell-bent on losing a very winnable election to a very seriously flawed candidate in Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Dent said.

In the days since last week’s Democratic National Convention, Mr. Trump has feuded with the parents of a fallen U.S. soldier and declined to endorse House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Sen. John McCain in their re-election bids.

“Why would the nominee poke a stick in the face of the speaker — the titular head of the Republican party?” Mr. Dent said. “Why restart a fight with John McCain and Kelly Ayotte, two very important senators to maintaining our majority?”

Mr. Trump also predicted that the fall election could be “rigged,” as polls have shown him losing ground to Hillary Clinton. A Franklin and Marshall poll released Thursday showed Mr. Trump down double-digits in Mr. Dent’s home state of Pennsylvania, a key battleground.

Mr. Dent said he’s not prepared to endorse Mr. Trump but that he wouldn’t support Mrs. Clinton “under any circumstances.”

Mr. Dent said he has a lot of respect for former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee, but that he doesn’t know Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson.

He said the Libertarian ticket should be reversed.

“I think Gary Johnson’s made some statements too, something like he wasn’t going to smoke dope between now and the election — that’s not particularly encouraging or inspiring,” Mr. Dent said. “But no, I’m not there either.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, said on CNN several months ago it would be easy for him to vote for Mr. Weld if he were at the top of the ticket.

Mr. Trump has said Mr. Romney choked away an election he should have won in 2012.



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