Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Super PAC softening anti-Trump position

A Karl Rove-affiliated Super PAC is warming up to the idea of Donald Trump becoming the Republican presidential nominee, despite the former Bush adviser’s skepticism for the New York businessman.

Rove told syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt that a “fresh face” was needed for the GOP earlier this month.

“If we have somebody who we think has, has been battle tested, and has strong conservative principles and the ability to articulate them, and they are nominated at this convention, there will be a lot of acrimony from the people who were seeking the nomination,” Rove said. “But if it’s somebody who has, you know, has those convictions that they can express in a compelling way, we could come out of the convention in relatively strong position.

He continued:

Donald Trump excites a lot of enthusiasm. But he also excites a lot of anger within the Republican Party and outside of the Republican Party. And a fresh face might be the thing that could give us a chance to turn this election and win in November against Hillary.

But according to a Politico report published Thursday, senior members of American Crossroads joined in a phone call Tuesday warming up to the fact that Trump could in fact win the nomination.

From the report:

The phone call — which featured Rove, Crossroads officials and a pollster — laid out swing state polling and electoral map analysis done by the group showing circumstances in which Trump could beat Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, in a general election, according to three sources briefed on the call.

One source, a high-level operative with the Koch brothers’ conservative advocacy network, characterized the conversation as heralding “a softening of the anti-Trump position” within the big-money GOP establishment. The source added of Crossroads’ stance on Trump, “It’s not that they support him, only that if he’s the guy, we can do something to stop Hillary.”

“They have no choice but to be OK with him if he is the nominee,” Minnesota media mogul Stanley S. Hubbard told Politico. “What are they going to do? Back Hillary Clinton?

“There has been a hardening narrative from the media and others that Hillary Clinton can start planning her inaugural ball — that is simply false and we believed it was important to communicate that to our supporters,” Hubbard continued. “What we have in fact seen is that there is such intense dislike and distrust of Hillary among the general electorate that the presidential race will be close, regardless of the GOP nominee.”

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