Trump: The Party Doesn't Have to be Unified

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Bethpage, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Bethpage, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Donald Trump thinks he can win the general election, even if the Republican Party does not unify in support his candidacy:

Does the party have to be together? Does it have to be unified? I’m very different than everybody else, perhaps, that’s ever run for office. I actually don’t think so.

That’s what the Donald told George Stephanopoulos Friday in an interview broadcast during today’s edition of ABC News’ “This Week.” Trump’s comments came after Stephanopoulos asked him about what he will say to House Speaker Paul Ryan after Ryan said he isn’t ready to endorse the GOP “presumptive nominee”:

TRUMP: I’m going to say, look, this is what the people want. I just don’t understand why he didn’t. You know, most people have come out in favor. We’ve gotten tremendous endorsements over the last short period of time.

Uh, even Governor Perry came out. I mean he was very rough and then he came out and he had a very beautiful statement. I mean he came out with a magnificent statement.

Look, I’ve had so much support. I’ve had support from all the people that Paul Ryan works with. I mean you see all the congressmen. They’re coming forward. They’re coming forward in waves right now. And I’m actually a little surprised that this is happening this quickly.

Then the interview moved on to the other Republican leaders that chose not to back Trump — Former Presidents Bush, Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush.  Trump was even more flippant about them saying, “if somebody doesn’t want to endorse, I don’t want their endorsement. It’s OK. I’m going to release them.”

In Response to Stephanopoulos asking what price Speaker Ryan would pay for not getting along with him, Trump made his comments that the GOP doesn’t have to unify behind him:

STEPHANOPOULOS (on camera): But Paul Ryan is different. He’s the speaker of the House. He’s the highest ranking…

TRUMP: No.

STEPHANOPOULOS: — elected Republican in the country right now. He’s the chairman of the convention.

Back in March, you said he’d pay a price if he didn’t get along with you.

What is that price?

TRUMP: Well, we’re going to see what happens. He wants to meet. He’d like to meet. And I think we’re meeting on Thursday. And we’ll just see what happens. It’s just more drama.

But I think it’s a mistake not to do this. We want to bring the party together.

Does the party have to be together?

Does it have to be unified?

I’m very different than everybody else, perhaps, that’s ever run for office. I actually don’t think so. I think that…

STEPHANOPOULOS: It doesn’t have to be unified.

TRUMP: No, I don’t think so. I think it would be better if it were unified. I think it would be, uh, there would be something good about it. But I don’t think it actually has to be unified in the traditionally sense.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the party (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: I’m going to do what I have to do. I have millions of people that voted for me because I have strong borders, because I want strong trade. I want good trade. I want trade. I don’t want to be an isolationist, but what’s happening with China, what’s happening with Japan, what’s happening with Mexico, they’re just absolutely eating our lunch. It’s a shame. It’s terrible.

So I have to say true to my principles, also. And I’m a conservative, but don’t forget, this is called the Republican Party. It’s not called the Conservative Party. You know, there are Conservative Parties. This is called the Republican Party.

I am a conservative.

This goes along with the idea that facts just don’t matter when you run an emotional campaign like Trump’s. We must not underestimate Trump on his unusual approach to presidential politics.