Former Vice President Dick Cheney has said he will support Donald Trump
as the bombastic candidate’s looming nomination has thrown the Republican Party into chaos.
Cheney told CNN on Friday that he has always backed Republican presidential nominees and will do the same in this election cycle.
The announcement makes Cheney one of the few senior Republican elders to declare their support for Trump, who became the party’s presumptive nominee this week after his two remaining rivals dropped out of the race.
It is also a break from the position of former President George W. Bush, whom Cheney served. Representatives for Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, have said neither former president will back Trump’s presidential bid.
This file photo taken on June 24, 2015 shows former US President George W. Bush at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The celebrity businessman is encountering stiff resistance from some Republican leaders, with House Speaker Paul Ryan saying he is “just not ready” to back Trump.
Senator John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2008 and 2012 nominees, also do not plan to attend the Republican National Convention, where Trump will be formally nominated in June.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the White House, said Friday that he could not bring himself to vote either for Trump or his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
“It’s hard to believe that in a nation of more than 300 million Americans Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be our choices for president,” Graham said.
Trump has dismissed the rebuff from the former Republican nominees.
“When I hear that they are going to sit it out, I think that’s fine I don’t care if they sit it out,” he said on CNBC.
“But I have tremendous support, in fact even politically you see that so many people are now coming out in support and we are going to have some people that aren’t going to want to play the game and that’s okay,” he added. “I mean if they don’t want to, I don’t think it matters.”
Protesters gather outside the venue prior to a Trump rally at the the Northwest Washington Fair and Event Center on May 7, 2016 in Lynden, Washington. (AFP photo)
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that Romney is being courted by a prominent conservative figure to launch an independent campaign for the White House.
William Kristol, the longtime editor of the Weekly Standard magazine, invited the GOP elder to discuss how best to get an independent candidate into the presidential race, potentially with Romney as its standard-bearer.