Donald Trump to reassure fellow Republicans amid rebellion

Donald Trump is seeking to quell concerns he lacks the discipline or policy know-how to make a competent president, even as the list of fellow Republicans deeming him unfit for the Oval Office grows.

A protester stands outside the Detroit Economic Club in Detroit while candidate Donald Trump  was giving a speech inside. Picture: AP
A protester stands outside the Detroit Economic Club in Detroit while candidate Donald Trump was giving a speech inside. Picture: AP

Maine Senator Susan Collins, a moderate, became the latest Republican to announce her intent not to vote for her party’s nominee.

Days after rebuking Trump for insinuating Somali refugees in Maine were dangerous, Ms Collins said she’d thought “long and hard” about whether she was obligated to support the GOP nominee and decided she could not.

“With the passage of time, I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologise,” Ms Collins wrote in a comment piece for the Washington Post.

Ms Collins wrote that she supports neither party’s nominee, though previously she said she was open to voting for Hillary Clinton.

The defection from a respected senator added to a chorus of GOP voices insisting they can’t back Trump.

About 50 Republican former national security officials signed an open letter calling Mr Trump the most reckless candidate in history, prompting a counter-attack from Mr Trump, who said the signatories share blame with Mrs Clinton for making the world “a mess” and fuelling the Islamic State group’s formation.

“We thank them for coming forward so everyone in the country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place,” Mr Trump said in a statement.

The renewed focus on GOP discord was not the theme Mr Trump hoped to emphasise. The GOP nominee had tried in a major policy speech at the Detroit Economic Club to turn the page on a dreadful stretch in his campaign by unveiling a revamped economic plan centred on far-reaching tax cuts.

Mrs Clinton quickly dismissed Mr Trump’s proposal, which would reduce to three the number of income tax brackets and cut corporate taxes to 15 per cent. She accused Mr Trump of offering “super big tax breaks” to huge companies and rich people and disputed his claim that she wanted the middle class to pay more.

“I have said throughout this campaign I am not going to raise the taxes on the middle class, but with your help we are going to raise it on the wealthy,” Mrs Clinton said at a rally in the battleground state of Florida on Monday.

The two candidates were headed toward a trio of televised showdowns. Mrs Clinton’s campaign chairman announced she would take part in all three debates that the Commission on Presidential Debates is organising. Mr Trump has said he wants to debate Mrs Clinton but complained that two of the debates are scheduled during NFL football games, claiming Democrats “rigged” the schedule.

Mrs Clinton, working to shore up a path to victory in the Electoral College, was focusing intently on Florida. She planned to tour a Miami health clinic Tuesday to discuss the Zika virus before holding fundraisers in the evening.

Mr Trump, too, had his eye on the most competitive states. A day after campaigning in Michigan, the real estate mogul planned a pair of rallies in North Carolina.

Debates and tax policy were just a few areas where the White House hopefuls were trading accusations. On Monday evening, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter that “many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the US because of Mrs Clinton’s hacked emails,” referring to an Iranian nuclear scientist executed for spying for the US.