Tough week for Donald Trump’s California delegate list
It’s been a rocky couple of days for Donald Trump’s campaign in California, after the presumptive nominee’s team submitted a list of delegates who would go to the national convention if, as expected, Trump wins the June 7 primary.
It started innocently enough. The California secretary of state’s office unveiled the official list Monday evening, a collection of establishment figures and lesser-known Trump fans.
But on Tuesday, Mother Jones reported that William Johnson, an avowed white nationalist, was on the campaign’s handpicked list of pledged delegates, sparking an immediate outcry from Democrats. Tim Clark, Trump’s campaign director in California, later said Johnson was included erroneously.
Another controversial figure soon surfaced: Guy St Onge, a YouTube pastor who has preached anti-Muslim messages. He also was removed as a Trump delegate, telling the Guardian he was standing down to “take one for the team.”
More apparent errors followed. Former Assemblyman Bob Pacheco said he was mistakenly placed on the list of Trump delegates. So did Mario Guerra, former mayor of Downey, who appeared on both Trump’s and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s slates of delegates.
In an interview, Guerra said he had intended to serve as a delegate pledged to Cruz, not Trump. He said that he asked the Trump campaign to remove his name from the list and that he did not intend to go to Cleveland for the convention.
Guerra, the treasurer of the California Republican Party, said he was flooded with emails and voicemails when he appeared on the list of Trump delegates -- a perhaps unsurprising reaction considering Guerra hails from a heavily Latino community.
“My heart stopped when I saw your name. Really, Mario, is this true?” read one note, which Guerra said came from a friend -- “well, at least I thought so.”
In all, five of Trump’s 169 listed delegates have been swapped or announced their intent to swap since Monday.
There may be more changes coming, Clark said in an interview Friday. The campaign plans to submit an updated delegate list to the California GOP on Monday, and he said more revisions may happen as people evaluate their summer plans and vacation schedules.
“Since the party is in control, we have the option to replace [delegates] and preserve alternate slots,” Clark said, adding the Trump campaign plans to send a “full slate of primary delegates and alternates.”
Clark said the confusion over the list was not indicative of larger organizational woes.
Of the 169 delegate slots the campaign has discretion over -- the other three are reserved for party leaders -- “five changes ... is a small percentage on a list of this size,” he said.
Still, he acknowledged, it’s not often that something as arcane as California’s delegate slate makes national news.
“Is there a little more attention given this year than in years past? Absolutely,” Clark said. “It’s the nature of this election cycle.”
Donald Trump says he will not reimburse himself for loans to campaign
Donald Trump often boasts about self-funding his Republican bid for the White House, but that’s misleading at best.
He has accepted more than $11 million in outside donations for his campaign, federal records show, and he has made loans of $36 million to pay most of the rest.
On Friday, the presumptive GOP nominee said he has no plans to repay himself as the race moves into a general election campaign expected to cost at least $1 billion.
Trump does not have a traditional fundraising operation and his statements on the issue are sometimes shy of full disclosure.
MSNBC reported Friday that Trump could reimburse himself through donations from the hundreds of millions of dollars he has said he will raise for the GOP this cycle.
Trump denied that report, using an inflated figure for his own contribution.
“I have absolutely no intention of paying myself back for the nearly 50 million dollars I have loaned to the campaign,” he said in a statement to MSNBC’s Ari Melber.
Trump has spent $317,000 of his own money, but has lent his campaign $35.9 million, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
Election rules allow a candidate who lends his campaign money -- and does not make the contribution outright -- to reimburse himself.
Donald Trump refuses to reveal his tax rate
Unlike every major presidential candidate since the 1970s, Donald Trump says he doesn’t plan to release his tax returns until an audit is completed - and he appears annoyed by questions about them.
“It’s none of your business,” the presumptive GOP nominee replied Friday to a question about his tax rate on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Trump’s refusal to release any of his federal tax returns has dogged the candidate all week, with Democrats and Republicans alike jabbing him for withholding details that candidates routinely provide.
The New York real estate mogul has cited what he says is an ongoing audit of his taxes by the Internal Revenue Service as his reason for not releasing the returns.
Trump has given contradictory responses as to whether or when he might allow the public to see his returns from 2015 and earlier.
Every major presidential candidate since Gerald Ford in 1976 has released tax returns, which show sources of income, donations to charity and investments.
In an interview with the Associated Press this week, Trump argued that voters would learn “nothing” from his tax returns, and said he would not release them before the November election even if the IRS completes its audit.
He later backtracked on Twitter, saying he would relese the returns if the audit is done before the fall election.
Nothing in the law prevents him from releasing returns during an audit, or releasing earlier returns.
Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, and Mitt Romney, the GOP 2012 nominee, assailed Trump this week for not releasing his returns.
“It is disqualifying for a modern day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters,” Romney, a strong critic of Trump, wrote in a Facebook post.
With an eye toward November, Donald Trump ponders a VP pick
Donald Trump has essentially seized the Republican presidential nomination, and now he has a key decision: Who will be his running mate?
Trump has benefited from his outsider status, but the billionaire businessman has said his vice presidential pick will likely have political experience.
In an interview with the Associated Press earlier this week, Trump repeated that idea and said his list of choices included “five or six” people.
Some possible picks have indicated openness to the job; other prominent Republicans have forcefully said they would not join Trump on a ticket.
Singers lend their voices to Hillary Clinton’s California campaign
The Hillary Clinton campaign is planning a star-studded concert in Los Angeles the day before California’s primary.
Christina Aguilera, above, Andra Day, John Legend, Ricky Martin and Stevie Wonder are slated to perform at the event, which is scheduled for June 6 at the Greek Theatre.
California’s primary is on June 7, and Clinton is also expected to attend the concert to make her pitch to the state’s voters.
This is not the first time the campaign has turned to musical performances to support Clinton’s candidacy. Day, Elton John and Katy Perry performed at Radio City Music Hall in New York in March.
Ticket sales support the Hillary Victory Fund, which backs Clinton and other Democratic efforts.
It’s not just Paul Ryan who’s hard to win over. Donald Trump faces struggle for unity in key battleground states
Stepping into the role of Republican leader, Donald Trump faces a party that is profoundly divided — not just among Washington elites, but across the country.
Supporters of the pugnacious political outsider, and sometimes the candidate himself, openly feuded with GOP chairmen in a number of states, including several -- Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia -- that will likely be strongly contested this fall.
Though those party chiefs now profess their support for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, the depth of their commitment remains to be seen, as well as how readily they can marshal the donors, volunteers and other activists Trump will need to boost his chances in November.
In several key battleground states, prominent Republicans continue to resist Trump’s candidacy, questioning his electability, doubting his party loyalty and vowing to expend their energies on races other than the presidential campaign.
John Boehner: Trump is the presumptive nominee, ‘like it or not’
John Boehner made clear his plans to support Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee on Thursday, but didn’t seem to support the businessman’s policy plans.
Speaking at the SALT conference in Las Vegas, the former House speaker answered “no” to questions about whether he supports Trump’s plans to build a wall on the Mexican border and ban Muslims from traveling to the United States
“Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, whether people like it or not,” Boehner said.
But he still supports a unified GOP, which to him means getting behind Trump.
He also gave more insight into his true feelings about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whom he previously referred to as “Lucifer in the flesh.” Cruz dropped out of the presidential race on May 3.
“Thank God the guy from Texas didn’t win,” Boehner said.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel announces his candidacy for vice president
Donald Trump denies impersonating PR rep ‘John Miller’ in 1990s
Donald Trump denied reports on Friday that he impersonated a publicist named “John Miller” on behalf of himself in a 1991 recording of a phone interview with a reporter.
The report published by the Washington Post pointed to several instances in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s when journalists called for interviews with the businessman and spoke on the telephone with supposed spokesmen who sounded remarkably similar to Trump. But the GOP presumptive nominee called the article a “scam.”
“No, I don’t know anything about it,” Trump said on NBC’s “Today” in response to the Post’s report. “It doesn’t sound like my voice at all.”
This latest scuffle with the Post comes a day after Trump accused the newspaper’s owner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, of attempting to evade taxes on his e-commerce company. Trump claimed Bezos bought the paper for “practically nothing,” and assigns the reporters to dig into and report stories that are “wrong.”
“He’s using that as a tool for political power against me and against people,” Trump said in a Thursday interview on Fox News’ “Hannity.” “I’ll tell you what, we can’t let him get away with it.”
The Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, has denied any claims that Bezos influences the newspaper’s content and coverage.
Endorsement tracker: Some California Republicans still not ready for Trump
About half of the Republicans in California’s U.S. House delegation aren’t ready to say Donald Trump is their guy.
The New York businessman has been the party’s presumptive presidential nominee for more than a week, but six of the 14 California GOP lawmakers will not say outright that they are backing Trump.
Several couch their support by saying only that they will be for the “Republican nominee.”
Most of California’s Republican members of Congress have stayed out of the primary, especially as it seemed more likely that the June 7 contest here would be decisive. A handful endorsed a candidate early, but those endorsements stopped as the crowded field dwindled.
All but four California House Democrats are with Clinton. Here’s why
Four California House Democrats are keeping a tight lid on who they think should be their party’s presidential nominee.
The California primary is June 7, and the other 35 members of the Golden State’s Democratic House delegation, and both its U.S. senators, have backed Hillary Clinton for months.
But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Barbara Lee, Alan Lowenthal and Norma Torres said they aren’t ready to publicly support either Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is popular but lagging in delegates.
Lowenthal, from Long Beach, said he’s still watching the candidates and doesn’t expect to announce a choice before California votes next month. As a state senator, Lowenthal endorsed Barack Obama in January 2008.