Feuds between Republican front-runner Donald Trump and members of the GOP establishment are a near-constant feature of the 2016 election season — and for good reason. Trump has never wanted to play by Washington's rules, and party stalwarts never wanted him to be the nominee.
But they appear to be set on an unavoidable collision course, especially if Trump can carry his momentum from Tuesday's primary wins into next week, when some of the remaining primaries become winner-take-all contests.
Perhaps that momentum is what prompted Trump to reach out to some of his harshest GOP critics Tuesday, saying he wants to "unify" a party that has appeared uneasy about its future, if not fractured between those who support the establishment and those who feel betrayed and angry at Washington business as usual.
"I can get along with people," he said. "Look, the bottom line is, we have something going that's so good, we should grab each other and we should unify the party, and nobody's going to beat us, okay?"
He mentioned three specific Republicans he feels he can work with: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who has twice held press conferences specifically to criticize Trump's campaign-trail rhetoric, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), who has been one of Trump's most vocal critics in the Senate, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who called Trump a "phony" and a "fraud" just last week.
He also addressed the criticism that he doesn't have the temperament to be president.
"I can be more presidential than anybody," he said. "I would say more presidential – and I've said this a couple of times — more presidential than anybody other than the great Abe Lincoln."
Trump is the Republican Party's momentum candidate, and his primary wins on Tuesday got him a step closer to the presidential nomination. Maybe he feels it's time to start working with the GOP leadership — and make peace even with some of his most vocal critics.