Fearing Trump, More Republicans Are Skipping the Convention
Policy + Politics

Fearing Trump, More Republicans Are Skipping the Convention

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Worries about being associated with Donald Trump have prompted a growing chorus of Republicans to say they’ll skip their party’s national convention this summer.

Several senators in tough reelection fights -- including Mark Kirk (IL), Kelly Ayotte (NH) and Richard Burr (NC) -- have recently said they may not be in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention in mid-July.

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Earlier this week Sen. John McCain (AZ), the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee who is facing a primary challenge from the right, told reporters he would be too busy campaigning to attend.

Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley (IA), who has been the point-man of the Republican blockade of President Obama’s Supreme Court Justice pick, told the Associated Press he hasn’t decided if he’ll go the convention or not. He cited the cost of a hotel room as a potential stumbling block.

"I will do something different and maybe stay in hotels or motels I can buy a night at a time," he said.

And it’s not just lawmakers who could sit out what is supposed to a political party’s version of the prom. The New York Times reported that some major companies such as Walmart and Google are reconsidering their sponsorship plans for the gathering and could roll back their involvement, possibly to the tune of millions of dollars.

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Much like some Capitol Hill lawmakers, corporations are worried about being associated with Trump’s divisive views on women and minorities, fearing they could hurt them in the future.

Already a steady trickle, the pace of desertions could turn into a flood in the final weeks of the primary season if the possibility of an ugly brawl over delegates between Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), Ohio Governor John Kasich moves closer to becoming a reality.

The desertions could also pick up if Trump continues to suggest there could be violence in the convention hall and rioting in the streets if he is denied the nomination for failing to reach the 1,237 delegate threshold.

Last week Trump warned of a "rough July" if the GOP national committee doesn't change how it chooses its nominee ahead of the meeting.

"They better get going," he urged at a campaign rally. "Because I'll tell you what, you're gonna have a rough July at that convention.”

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Of course, a problem with skipping your own convention is that you are basically ceding the field to those who do show up, namely Trump’s and Cruz’s far-right supporters, something House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) seems aware of.

"If you were planning on going to the convention, you should go," Ryan told CNN. "It could be a great historical exercise. I mean, it could be something you'll remember the rest of your life, so I would go if I were, if I had a chance to go."

For now the only ones who seem ready to “get going” these days are Trump’s fellow Republicans, but in the opposite direction.