But Trump’s recent demeaning of POWs — suggesting Sen. John McCain is only considered a war hero because he was captured — and his description of many Mexican undocumented immigrants as criminals has spooked establishment Republicans who have hoped to feature a more inclusive GOP in 2016. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, while remaining neutral, has reportedly asked Trump to cool his incendiary tone, and most of the other 16 candidates seeking the Republican nomination have condemned his commentary amid fears that he could drive away voters from the party altogether.
Then there’s the nightmare scenario: Trump hasn’t fully committed to supporting the eventual GOP nominee, and has floated the idea of running as a third party candidate, particularly if he perceives he’s been mistreated by the Republican Party. Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef suggested that those looking to ostracize Trump should be careful of that prospect, and noted excluding him could deepen the resolve of his supporters.
“What’s it going to help? If I try to keep him out of Mississippi … what’s that going to do to hurt Donald Trump?” he said. “Quite frankly, that might help him. I think doing things like overtly excluding people from things just gives them red meat for the argument that somehow there’s some elite class of establishment people trying to control.”