Embroiled in a tough reelection fight, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) worries presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump would overstep the chief executives’s legal bounds if elected president. Along similar lines, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is concerned Trump’s proposed Muslim ban violates the constitution. And Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) warns that Trump’s divisive rhetoric could lead to more violent incidents like the racially motivated mass shooting at a Charleston church that claimed nine lives.
Yet despite those concerns, all three have pledged to support Trump, raising the question of just what it would take for them to disavow a candidate who has done anything but moderate his positions since locking up the Republican nomination.
In an interview with the New York Times, McCain suggested Trump will seek to exceed his authority under the Constitution, but said he’s hopeful that Congress might be able to keep him in check.
Now That Trump Is The Nominee, These Republicans Say They’re Voting For HillaryPolitics by CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast Ted Cruz went nuclear on Donald Trump on Tuesday, but it didn’t do…thinkprogress.org“I still believe we have the institutions of government that would restrain someone who seeks to exceed their constitutional obligations,” McCain said. “We have a Congress. We have the Supreme Court. We’re not Romania.”
McCain went on to single out the press as one institution that is “still strong enough” to keep Trump in line. But Trump has said he wants to weaken the First Amendment by making it more easy to sue media outlets.
During an Friday morning appearance on MSNBC, Cole said he supports House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to endorse Trump. MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin then asked him if there’s anything about Trump he’d change.
“If I had to pick a particular position that would concern me the most, it would be the ban on Muslims,” Cole replied. “I think it’s clearly, you know, unconstitutional, it’s ill-advised, it would really hurt the United States. We need a lot of Muslim friends to deal with what we’re dealing with overseas, and we have some great Muslim friends.”
Haley, meanwhile, expressed concern about Trump’s rhetoric and its possible violent implications during a Thursday interview with the Associated Press.
“I know what that rhetoric can do. I saw it happen,” Haley said, referring to the mass shooting allegedly perpetrated last summer by 22-year-old Confederate sympathizer Dylann Roof. “The way [Trump] communicates that, I wish were different,” she said.
On Thursday, House Speaker Ryan officially endorsed Trump just hours after he promised an interfaith peace organization he’s committed to speaking out against Islamophobia. Some analysts have interpreted Ryan’s endorsement as marking the end of the stillborn “Never Trump” movement.