Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party, issued a statement in Charleston on Thursday to his West Virginia supporters. He told them not to vote.
Yes, you read that correctly. The West Virginia primaries are going to be held on May 10, but due to the outcome of Indiana’s primary, which caused GOP contenders Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich to drop out, Trump stated that it isn’t necessary for the voters to go to the voting booth on Tuesday.
“And now, what I want you to do is save your vote. You know, you don’t have to vote anymore. Save your vote for the general election, okay? Forget this one,” Trump said, according to The Daily Caller. “The primary is gone. Save your vote for the general election in November and we’re gonna show you something and you’re gonna show me something, OK?.”
You can watch his comments here:
As you might imagine, Trump was almost immediately criticized for his statement.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s response to Trump’s comments on Twitter was typical (and correct):
It’s irresponsible to tell people not to vote. Too many have died for our right. Plus local & down ballot races are so important. #wvpol
— Natalie Tennant (@NatalieTennant) May 6, 2016
That brought about a swift reversal of Trump’s position on the issue, as he tweeted a few hours later an encouragement to West Virginians to vote on Tuesday after all, contradicting his earlier statement:
Thank you West Virginia. Let’s keep it going. Go out and vote on Tuesday – we will win big. #Trump2016
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 6, 2016
More likely than not, this is simply a reflection of Trump’s inexperience as a politician. The Republican presidential nominee is one of the leaders of the Republican Party, like it or not, and with that role comes the responsibility not only to win your own election, but to help other Republicans win theirs.
He certainly doesn’t want to win the presidency but lose the House and Senate to the Democrats — good luck getting anything done then.
Trump’s willingness to learn that lesson and reverse course quickly is a good sign of his ability to be the candidate America needs in this election.
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