During a week when prominent Republicans across the nation have been screeching to a halt short of endorsing presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, Gov. Dennis Daugaard is hitting the brakes himself.
“I’m not there,” he said yesterday during a chat outside the state Game, Fish & Parks Commission meeting at Creekside Inn in Custer State Park .
“There” is giving his support and endorsement to Trump.
Don’t get the Republican governor wrong. He’s not planning on supporting Hillary. But Trump? Trump? Well, the look of misery on his face at the mere question indicates a level of discomfort that, in existential terms, seems close to what he’s been experiencing physically from the ruptured disk in his back.
Which hurts worse, the ruptured disk or Trump’s success? I couldn’t tell by looking.
As Daugaard says, he has a ways to go to get there with Trump. And he’s not alone.
So does U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said much the same thing this week. Not there.
And when asked if they’d support Trump, W and HW apparently begged off in a way that seems to indicate their road to “there” might be long and bumpy and perhaps impassable. I could easily see either one casting a vote for Clinton, even if they didn’t admit to it.
Daugaard says that regardless of where he is on the road to Trump – or some alternate route — he won’t be able to beg off on his convention vote as an elected delegate from South Dakota to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in mid-July.
“As I read the bylaws, I don’t have a choice,” he said. “If he (Trump) wins the primary and comes in as the only candidate, I have to vote for him.”
I think I caught a wince as he spoke the words, and it wasn’t the back.
It’s clear that Daugaard wishes he had another Republican option to Trump.
“He offers simplistic solutions to complex problems, and makes ridiculous statements,” Daugaard said.
And all across the Republican primary landscape, voters have been saying “right on!”