How Long Can They Sustain This?

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June 7, 2016 1:45 p.m.

As Lauren Fox explains here, Trump has managed to shatter the fragile and improbable unity Republicans achieved after he clinched the GOP nomination last month. As of today, he seems to have achieved something even more impressive. A who’s who of Republican elected officials over the last 36 hours have openly said Trump’s attacks are “racist” and “unforgivable” and yet they will continue to support him. Because they need him to be president.

House Speaker Paul Ryan calls Trump’s antics “indefensible” and “the texbook definition of a racist comment.” Still, Ryan will continue to support him and wants him to be President.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R) says Trump’s comments are “racially toxic” but Trump “needs to get onto the general election and we need to win.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) doesn’t dispute that Trump’s attacks are racist but he says Obama’s more racist. So it’s okay.

Of course, the condemnation of Trump’s remarks has been almost universal. But you now have the uncanny and bizarre case of top Republican leaders explicitly calling Trump out as “racist” and also saying they support his candidacy for President.

At the risk of stating the obvious, this is not a sustainable tension. How will it break?

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