To endorse Trump or not is the question now

Mr George H.W. Bush (top) and Mr George W. Bush (above) will not endorse anyone.
Mr George H.W. Bush (above) and Mr George W. Bush will not endorse anyone.
Mr George H.W. Bush (top) and Mr George W. Bush (above) will not endorse anyone.
Mr George H.W. Bush and Mr George W. Bush (above) will not endorse anyone.

WASHINGTON • Republican leaders, members and donors grappled with whether to support Mr Donald Trump after he became the party's presumptive nominee.

Many got behind the reality TV star and real estate developer, while some weighed their options.

The top Republican in the Senate, Mr Mitch McConnell, offered a lukewarm endorsement on Wednesday, saying he was committed to supporting the candidate chosen by voters.

Mr John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said he would also support Mr Trump. Mr McCain's war record was criticised by Mr Trump last year but the Arizona senator's spokesman said he will back whoever the party chooses.

South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, a possible Trump running mate, offered support but said she was "not interested" in vying for the post of vice-president.

Republican former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush said they do not plan to endorse anyone in the White House race this year, according to their spokesmen. Mr Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who is Mr George H.W.'s son and Mr George W.'s brother, was often attacked by Mr Trump during the presidential race.

Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rob Portman of Ohio said they will vote for the party's nominee but not endorse him, while Senator Dean Heller of Nevada made clear he will not vote for Mr Trump in November, citing his disparaging comments against women and Hispanics.

Some bitter Republicans took to social media to renounce their political affiliation. Conservative writer Lachlan Markay posted a video on Twitter of himself burning his voter registration card.

Still others said they might vote for Mrs Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.

Republican donor Bill Achtmeyer said: "If she is able to move to the centre and think as creatively and thoughtfully as her husband did... I would have a very hard time."

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2016, with the headline 'To endorse Trump or not is the question now'. Print Edition | Subscribe