“This guy is a nut case. Let him sink on his own and take the money and the assets and the volunteers, all the things a party can bring to an election, and use them to help support the Republican candidates for other offices,” Mickey Edwards, a former congressman from Oklahoma, said of Trump.
“Otherwise this guy is going to drag the whole party down into oblivion by causing Republican legislators, Republican members of Congress, to get wiped out,” Edwards said.
The Republican National Committee and Trump’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Those who signed the letter include current and former staffers and elected officials in the RNC, advisers to the past nine Republican presidential campaigns, former members of Congress and others. Signing the letter is not an endorsement of any other candidate, drafters and signers said.
“He’s running to be the Republican nominee of the conservative party to be president of the United States of America, to represent all the people. And the way he’s been behaving is not Republican, it’s definitely not conservative and is anti-American in many respects, pitting people against people," said Danny Vargas, former chairman of the National Republican Hispanic Assembly and an adviser to four RNC chairs.
The letter said that Trump has “alienated millions of voters of all parties” in the past month by actions including feuding with the Muslim parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq, urging Russia to meddle in the election by finding Democrat Hillary Clinton’s emails, having a “total ignorance” of foreign policy and “Deliberately and repeatedly lying about scores of issues, large and small.”
It says Trump has displayed “dangerous authoritarian tendencies,” including his plan to bar Muslims from the country and expressed willingness to kill the families of suspected terrorists.
It also cites recent poll numbers showing Trump lagging behind Clinton nationally and in key battleground states, and recent instances where Trump was willing to attack other Republicans. Trump has said he would consider starting a super PAC to go after certain candidates, said that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, is not a war hero and alleged that the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) played a role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
"I signed because I think it's clear that Mr. Trump's candidacy is going nowhere and there are still a lot of Senate and House candidates who can win, and that’s where I think the support should be going," said B. Jay Cooper, a former White House deputy press secretary and communications director at the RNC.
Cooper said he's not supporting Trump, but he's still not sure who he plans to vote for.
"I've worked in the White House for three different presidents and temperament is important. Attitude and how you set the morale for the government, how you present this country to other countries, all of this is extremely important and he doesn't measure up," Cooper said.
"We can survive four years of Hillary Clinton," he said. "I'm not sure we can survive Donald Trump."