- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

State Republican Party chairmen maintain that the media is overplaying a “civil war” in the GOP, saying that while some high-profile lawmakers in Washington are breaking from Donald Trump, the grass-roots members remain committed.

Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier said the discord is coming from a few elected officials, such as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, who were not in the “good graces” of the party’s rank and file and who are now grabbing headlines by “stomping on their party’s presidential nominee.”

“They are not leaders in the party, though a few like Paul Ryan are leaders of other elected Republicans in Congress,” said Mr. Currier.

Mr. Currier has formally asked all 168 members of the Republican National Committee to restate their support for Mr. Trump. They represent active Republican Party members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and six U.S. territories.

Questions about backing Mr. Trump swirled for more than a year, but they took on added salience after The Washington Post reported a 2005 caught-on-tape moment in which Mr. Trump talks about failed attempts to seduce a married woman and brags about being able to grope women without their consent.

The revelations gave Republican lawmakers a new reason to break with their party’s nominee — and dozens of them took the chance, saying they could no longer support him and would instead write in someone else’s name.

Mr. Ryan stiff-armed the billionaire real estate developer and reality TV star, disinviting him to a joint campaign appearance with the House speaker and telling Republican House members that they are free to pretend Mr. Trump doesn’t exist.

But party officials — those who hold posts in the Republican National Committee, or state or local parties — say they are still backing Mr. Trump and so are their base of voters.

Indeed, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has reiterated his steadfast support for Mr. Trump.

Mr. Priebus, in an interview with The Washington Times, refused to directly address Mr. Ryan’s snub of Mr. Trump.

“Fighting among ourselves doesn’t add a single ballot in our favor,” Mr. Priebus said. ” My job as national chairman is to support our nominee. That should be the objective of all our people — to be unified.”

Even the District of Columbia Republican Party, considered one of the most centrist, has stuck with Mr. Trump. “We supported him before, and we continue to do so,” said Jill Homan, the District’s national committeewoman.

Utah Republican Party Chairman James M. Evans said his phone “has been ringing off the hook with calls in favor of Trump” and that most party members understand that this is a “change” election that requires supporting Mr. Trump or being left with the status quo they say Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton represents.

Many Republican lawmakers in Utah have disavowed Mr. Trump, though. Their criticism goes back to his battle with 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a favorite son in the heavily Mormon state.

“You’re seeing the press confusing a few big-name present and former elected lawmakers with this party’s organization nationally and at the state level,” said Mr. Evans. “You people in the press, in the media, don’t understand the party’s makeup and structure. You just don’t.”

National committee members’ wrath against Mr. Ryan is growing louder and more visible than ever.

“Speaker Ryan needs to realize that this is a status quo versus change election,” said Oregon RNC member Solomon Yue. “Stiff-arming Trump is actively supporting the status quo and helping to elect Hillary Clinton.”

Mr. Yue said the “status quo has already turned America into George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” where Mrs. Clintons’ pay-to-play corruption and emailgate of illegal conduct are protected by the Obama Justice Department and the FBI.”

Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kelly Arnold publicly thanked Mr. Priebus for helping Mr. Trump prepare for the Monday debate in St. Louis and for “standing solidly behind him.”

Kansas RNC member Helen Van Etten said the party’s rank and file were “not collectively behind any one candidate during the primary season, yet I am genuinely convinced that the entire membership of the RNC has rallied behind our candidate, Donald Trump.”

Her fellow RNC member from Kansas, Mark Kahrs, joined the chorus, saying there is nothing more important than nominating conservatives to the Supreme Court, and Mr. Trump has promised to do just that. Mrs. Clinton, he said, will name “jurists who want to remake America. The choice could not be clearer for Republicans.”

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