As Donald Trump
continues to maintain a lead over his Republican opponents for the 2016 presidential nomination, some prominent Tennessee Republicans are coming to terms with the idea that the unconventional billionaire might actually get his hands on the prize.
At the very least, they seem to accept that The Donald can no longer be dismissed out of hand. Here’s how several GOP luminaries dealt with the issue on Tuesday night at the party’s annual Master Meal banquet, sponsored by the East Shelby Republican Club at the Great Hall in Germantown.
8th District congressman Stephen Fincher
(R-Frog Jump): “I think that …Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls, because he is speaking in a language that we all want to hear. Now, does he say some crazy things? Yes, he does. Will he be a crazy president? I think he would be. But he is speaking the language of people…who are fed up with the direction that we’re going.”
Fincher: "Does he say some crazy things? Yes, he does. Will he be a crazy president? I think he would be. But he is speaking the language of people who are fed up”
State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris
(R-Collierville): “Stephen touched on something….It’s the rancor, if you will, that Trump has evoked in people, and I think it’s a good thing. He’s stirring up the status quo, and people want straight talk. They want to hear what we’re doing to address the issues that they care about. And I don’t know how it’ll turn out. I hope that John Ryder
will talk about it a little bit from an organizational point of view, as the party’s general counsel.
“Problematic as it may seem, good for Trump for doing this, getting people fired up. It’s fine. It’s fine….Good for Trump. He’s stirring us up. We’re having some straight talk. …Do we disagree sometimes? Heck yes, we disagree. And Trump would have it that way, too.”
As it happened, National Republican Committee general counsel Ryder was more cautious, throwing Trump only an ambiguously stated bouquet: “One of our candidates has said he wants to make America great. And I don’t disagree with that. But I think America is already great, and I think what we need to do is to release America’s greatness.”
Ryder’s best line of the evening was a zinger aimed at probable Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton
: “I had a long speech prepared to deliver tonight, but I had it on my server, and my server got erased. I’m thinking of calling in the FBI.”