Trump claims unity amid signs of division in campaign

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Wednesday his party was united despite media reports of deepening concern within his campaign and the Republican Party following days of inflammatory comments.

"We've never been this united," Trump said at a campaign rally in Florida, pointing to opinion polls he said showed him ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton in several key states.

Party leaders were reportedly deeply frustrated with Trump's recent behaviour, including attacking the parents of a fallen soldier who had spoken out against him at the Democratic convention and remarks that he would not endorse Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in a primary election.

Top Republicans, including party chairman Reince Priebus, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House speaker Newt gingrich hoped to stage an "intervention" with Trump to urge him to get his campaign back on track, NBC News reported.

Gingrich, who had been on Trump's shortlist for vice president, was among those urging Trump to recalibrate his campaign and offering harsh words for the Republican standardbearer.

"Trump is helping (Clinton) to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is," Gingrich told the Washington Post.

But Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort dismissed suggestions that the campaign was in disarray.

"The candidate is control of his campaign," he said in a Fox News interview, calling the turmoil a "Clinton narrative."

"The campaign is in very good shape. We are organized. We are moving forward."

Vice presidential candidate Mike Pence meanwhile differed with Trump Wednesday to issue his own endorsement of Ryan, a day after Trump had pointedly refused to endorse the top congressional Republican, who had been initially reluctant to back Trump after he secured the party's nomination.

"I strongly support Paul Ryan, strongly support his re-election," Pence told Fox News, adding "we need Paul Ryan in leadership in the Congress."

Trump said Tuesday he was "not quite there yet" to endorse Ryan, who faces a primary challenge for his Wisconsin congressional seat next week. Ryan's challenger, Paul Nehlen, has spoken favourably of Trump.

Last update: Thu, 04/08/2016 - 01:35
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