Members of Connecticut’s Democratic Party said Republicans are delusional if they think Donald Trump is going to win in Connecticut or help them take back the General Assembly.
No Republican presidential candidate has won in Connecticut since George H.W. Bush in 1988, but Republicans believe Trump has a shot at the state’s seven electoral votes.
“Republicans are claiming that Donald Trump can compete in Connecticut and that’s delusional,” Nancy DiNardo, vice chair of the Connecticut Democratic Party, said Friday during a press conference at their Hartford headquarters.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Trump’s visit Saturday gives Republicans in Connecticut an opportunity to “distance themselves from Donald Trump.”
“At times like this people should be judged by their silence, as well as about what they say,” Bronin said.
He said Republicans in Connecticut who don’t speak out about Donald Trump are supporting Donald Trump.
And why wouldn’t they? Republican Party Chairman JR Romano said.
He said it’s ridiculous that Democrats would call on Republicans to denounce their presidential nominee. If that’s the case why aren’t Democrats embracing Hillary Clinton as part of their local campaign efforts, Romano said.
“I question the integrity of Connecticut Democratic party when their bar is so low that they’re supporting a U.S. Senate candidate who lied about his service in Vietnam, and a presidential candidate who has lied to the American public about an email server,” Romano said.
Bronin said the Republicans are standing with somebody who has called for violence against their political opponent and who has mocked people with disabilities and has brought hate speech into the discourse of the election cycle.
“The fact that Donald Trump is their nominee is a crisis for the Republican party,” Bronin said.
Rep. Matt Lesser, D-Middletown, encouraged voters to ask their local Republican candidates if they are supporting Trump.
Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, who in his bid to win the race for majority leader has been campaigning with Democratic candidates across the state, said “no one is supporting this man.”
He said Trump will decide elections in Connecticut, but it won’t be in favor of candidates who are supporting his candidacy.
“It was cute in April. It was cute in March to some people, it was funny and entertaining,” Ritter said. “Now it’s reckless.”
Ritter said Democrats are going to ask their opponents where they stand on Trump during debates.
Asked if they are embracing the top of their ticket with as much enthusiasm there was a moment of silence before Ritter and Bronin said “yes.”
A reporter said that didn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but Bronin explained the question wasn’t addressed to anyone specific and no one was standing at the microphone to answer it. It was not meant to sound like there was any hesitation, Bronin explained.
“It’s a fair assumption that when the Republican Party is running as a ticket and just like when the Democratic Party is running as a ticket, they’re running as a team,” Bronin said. “It goes without saying that Democrats are supporting the top of their ticket.”
Bronin said the question is “are Republicans proud of the top of their ticket?”
Romano said the answer is yes.
However, at least a few Republicans like Sen. Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, have refused to endorse Trump, at the same time he’s not going as far as to embrace Clinton.
Others like former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays are actively embracing Clinton. How many more Connecticut Republicans join him remains to be seen.