In the wake of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Chicago rally that was canceled due to violent outbreaks, several GOP leaders — including presidential rivals — have denounced the violent protests as well as the harsh rhetoric of Trump’s campaign. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for any of the billionaire businessman’s Republican opponents to retract their promise to support him if he secures the party’s nomination.
And Obama spokesman Josh Earnest called the Republican Party out on that seeming contradiction during Monday’s White House press briefing.
“Unfortunately, we do still see prominent Republican after prominent Republican line up and pledge to support Mr. Trump if he’s the party nominee,” a bewildered Earnest said. “And for the life of me, I just don’t understand how they do that.”
It is important to note, however, that, while he has not fully retracted his pledge to support Trump if he becomes the GOP nominee, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said over the weekend that it is “getting harder every day” to support the real estate mogul.
Earnest told the press that the majority of Republican leaders’ unwillingness to fully part ways with the controversial front-runner “makes it a little hard to take seriously their hand-wringing about his divisive rhetoric and the kinds of messages that he’s delivering in the context of his political rallies.”
While Earnest said it is “pretty clear” what Trump is up to, he signaled that he is left confused as to what the GOP is up to, criticizing the party for sending mixed messages.
“On one hand, they wring their hands about Mr. Trump’s behavior, but then when asked, they pledge fealty to his campaign in the hopes that he will be elected to lead the greatest country on the planet,” he said. “At some point, somebody in the Republican Party is going to have to step up and show some leadership. But we’ve been waiting awhile.”
Watch the video of the briefing:
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