Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Donald Trump Tuesday to express frustration with the presidential candidate’s campaign and how he has handled his prolonged feud with the family of a slain Muslim-American soldier, according to several party sources familiar with the conversation.
It’s a sign of the growing angst within the GOP over a candidate who has veered away from his core talking points since the conclusion of last month’s Republican National Convention.
The parents of fallen Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004, spoke at last week’s Democratic National Convention. The father, Khizr Khan, criticized Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and said the real estate mogul had “sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Trump fired back, saying he was “viciously attacked” by the Khans. The Republican presidential nominee also questioned the mother’s silence, insinuating that Ghazala Khan wasn’t allowed to speak during the speech because she is Muslim.
“If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me, but plenty of people have written that she was extremely quiet, and it looked like she had nothing to say," Trump said in a recent interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.
Trump, who secured the Republican presidential nomination during his party’s convention two weeks ago, remained defiant Tuesday. He told a Virginia television station that he doesn’t “regret anything” about his drawn-out discord with the Khan family. And in an interview with the Washington Post, Trump refused to endorse for re-election Republicans who have criticized him, including House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
“I’m just not quite there yet,” Trump said of backing Ryan, who told CNN’s Jake Tapper something similar in May when appearing reluctant to endorse Trump. “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now.”
Priebus, who has been friends with Ryan for years, voiced his concerns to Trump over the telephone, the Republican Part sources said.
Some staffers within Trump’s campaign have also expressed their frustration at the White House hopeful, according to sources familiar with the situation.
But senior-level Trump campaign sources say there is "no disunity" within their ranks and that they are "completed focused … the election is about Hillary Clinton."