High-profile Republicans and rank-and-file voters on Wednesday struggled with how to best reject Donald Trump's divisive candidacy, as the nominee dealt with fallout from his remark that gun rights activists could stop Hillary Clinton from nominating liberal U.S. Supreme Court justices.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post saying the party was in "uncharted waters" and called for leaders to start looking for ways to remove Trump from the ticket.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll taken Aug. 5-8 showed that nearly one-fifth of 396 registered Republicans want Trump to drop out of the race for the White House and another 10 percent "don't know" whether the Republican nominee should or not.
Clinton's campaign moved to bring disenchanted Republicans into the fold by announcing an official intraparty outreach effort on behalf of the Democratic nominee.
But strategists cautioned that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to remove Trump from the Republican ticket.
"It’s wishful thinking to believe the Republicans are going to replace its nominee after the convention. People are grasping at straws," Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist unaffiliated with Trump, told Reuters.
The best moves for Trump's detractors may be withholding their endorsements, refusing to raise money for his campaign, throwing their weight behind Clinton or holding out hope that he voluntarily quits.
By Amanda Becker and James Oliphant WASHINGTON (Reuters)