- The Washington Times - Friday, July 1, 2016

DENVER — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin unloaded Friday on conservatives who refuse to support presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, dubbing them “Republicans Against Trump, or RAT for short.”

“They want to take their [Denver] Nuggets ball home and stay home instead of vote, because their guy didn’t win this time around?” asked Mrs. Palin at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver. “You know, I shouldn’t call them thumb-suckers because they’re not all bad. I’m kidding: They are. And Hillary [Clinton] needs them because she cannot win without them.”

Mrs. Clinton, the former secretary of state, is the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee.

Mrs. Palin’s rousing kick-off speech at the three-day conservative gathering at the Colorado Convention Center came as an unsubtle swipe at conservatives uneasy about Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

“You know who’s a threat?” Mrs. Palin asked. “Those GOP-ers who insist that they’ll never vote for their party’s choice this time. They call themselves never-hashtag whatever. I just call them Republicans Against Trump, or RAT for short.”

Mr. Trump is also slated to speak Friday at the event, perhaps the biggest test of his ability to unite conservatives behind his candidacy before the July 18-21 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

They include Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, Resurgent’s Erick Erickson and Truth Revolt’s Ben Shapiro, all of whom are scheduled to speak at the event.

The seventh annual summit, sponsored by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, is expected to break an attendance record this year with 4,000 attendees.

Even so, the venue’s vast Mile High Ballroom was only about half-full for Mrs. Palin’s address.

A regular speaker at the event, the feisty Mrs. Palin made it clear she has no patience for Republicans who have said they will sit out the election rather than vote for the real-estate mogul. Those include any number of Colorado Republicans, who gave all 34 of their delegate votes to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

“Folks, we’re talking about our sovereignty here, our solvency and security, our entire invaluable system of law and order in a republic bought with patriots’ and vets’ blood, sweat and tears,” said Mrs. Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate. “This isn’t a game nor some drama to be played out on the convention stage. They’re playing with dynamite.”

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