Some Wisconsin GOP leaders push for unity around Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a primary night news conference, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in New York.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a primary night news conference, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(WLUK) With Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropping out of the presidential race following Indiana's primary, Donald Trump will work to unite the Republican Party as its presumptive nominee.

Gov. Scott Walker, a former presidential candidate himself who endorsed Cruz ahead of Wisconsin's primary, said again Wednesday that he will support Trump. But a political expert says total Republican unity will be difficult.

During a stop in West Allis, Walker compared Trump and Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton. Walker says the differences begin with the U.S. Supreme Court opening.

"Between putting an activist versus someone who's just going to uphold the constitution," said Walker. "I think you're going to go see he'll probably lay out some facts on that in the future as to some of the names he's likely to pick. I think you look at taxes, regulation."

Walker noted that he made a pledge during the first Republican presidential debate to support the eventual nominee.

The Republican Party of Brown County chair says she's working toward unity around Trump.

"Most Americans agree with us that the country is going in the wrong direction, and the choice is clear," said Marian Krumberger. "If we vote for Hillary, we are going to continue in the wrong direction."

After Cruz won Wisconsin four weeks ago, many political observers predicted a contested Republican convention. With that now unlikely, Krumberger says that's an advantage for the party.

"We're excited to move on," she said. "And I think that's what you do. You close the door to one thing. We open the door to something else."

Wednesday morning on Good Day Wisconsin, UW-Green Bay political science professor Aaron Weinschenk said unity could be tough in Wisconsin and across the country.

"There is a subset of Republicans who absolutely can't stand Trump," said Weinschenk. "They don't think he's a true conservative. They think he moves around too much in his policy positions or doesn't have enough policy positions. So I think he is going to be a hard candidate who's hard to unify behind."

Trump told CNN Wednesday that his focus is on Clinton, and responding to what she says about him.

"I don't really like hitting people first," said Trump. "I guess I've always felt that I'm better, like certain boxers, they're better counter punchers."

Clinton calls Trump a loose cannon and says Americans can't take a risk on him.

Trump's next public campaign event is scheduled for Thursday evening in Charleston, West Virginia. West Virginia's primary is Tuesday for both Republicans and Democrats.

Walker downplayed that Trump will impact Wisconsin Republicans in other races down the ballot in November.

"I think if you look at this state, our voters showed even in the primary, we're fairly independent and so I think voters are going to look clearly at the differences between the candidates be it Ron Johnson versus Senator Feingold, be it the congressional opening in the Northeast or be it the Legislative races," said Walker.