WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on developments in the presidential campaign, including Donald Trump’s meetings Thursday with House Speaker Paul Ryan and with other congressional leaders (all times EDT):
Donald Trump’s former butler has drawn the attention of the Secret Service for threats he’s made online against President Barack Obama.
Anthony Senecal, who served the presumptive Republican nominee at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, has a Facebook page filled with incendiary comments, many directed at the president and his family.
Trump’s campaign says in an emailed statement that “Tony Senecal has not worked at Mar-a-Lago for years, but nevertheless we totally and completely disavow the horrible statements made by him regarding the President and first family.”
The Secret Service said Thursday it is “aware of this matter and will conduct the appropriate investigation.”
Senecal declined to accept a reporter’s call.
Donald Trump supporters and Republican operatives are starting a new super PAC to help him.
The group is headed by Doug Watts, the former communications director for Ben Carson’s 2016 bid. It is called Committee for American Sovereignty and expects to collect $20 million by the July convention, Watts says.
Among the advisers are Nicholas Ribis Sr., former chairman of Trump Hotel, Casino and Resorts and longtime GOP donor Kenneth Abramowitz.
Trump has disparaged outside groups, but Watts says his recent comments have led him to believe the candidate is now more open to them. “When facing a $1 billion effort by Hillary Clinton, it’s fair for him to look around and ask for help,” Watts says.
Watts says he notified Trump campaign official Paul Manafort about the group and that Manafort did not tell him to stand down.
The super PAC will focus on advertising and voter outreach, Watts says.
The Republican senator who called Donald Trump a “nut job” and a “loser” is softening his stance as the GOP seeks to unify.
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Trump’s harshest critics, told reporters that he spoke with Trump by telephone Wednesday. He described the billionaire candidate as funny, cordial and said he asked insightful questions about national security.
“He’s got a great sense of humor,” Graham said. “He’s from New York. He obviously can take a punch.”
Graham, who waged an unsuccessful bid for his party’s White House nomination, said he doesn’t retract anything he said during the heat of the campaign and he still won’t endorse Trump.
Republican strategist Karl Rove says his super PAC will spend money this year on Senate and House races, and not on pro- Donald Trump commercials.
That’s in line with what the presumptive GOP nominee says he wants. Trump has specifically trashed Rove and says he isn’t interested in his super PAC’s help.
Yet Rove also says American Crossroads and releated groups may run ads attacking likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in states where there is an opportunity to help boost Republican turnout to help Senate candidates. That, of course, would benefit Trump.
Rove is making the comments at a political panel during a finance industry conference in Las Vegas.
Former House Speaker John Boehner is getting behind Donald Trump, despite disagreeing with Trump’s stands on banning Muslims from entering the United States, tearing up trade deals and other issues.
Boehner (BAY’-nur) says the billionaire businessman is the presumptive Republican nominee for president — “whether people like it or not.”
And Boehner is confident that Trump can win in November — over likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Anyone who thinks Donald Trump can’t win — just watch.” That’s how Boehner put it during remarks Thursday at a conference of finance industry leaders in Las Vegas.
Boehner spoke not long after House Speaker Paul Ryan met with Trump in Washington.
Boehner thinks Ryan is probably “trying to help shape the direction of Trump’s policies.”
Boehner — who was speaker before Ryan — says he doesn’t “doubt there will be a meeting of the minds.”
The highest-ranking woman in the House GOP leadership calls the meeting with Donald Trump a “very important first step” toward unifying Republicans.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state says Thursday’s meeting was the first chance for her to make clear to the presumptive presidential nominee this core value for the party: “Dreaming big for everyone and turning its back on no one.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he was “very encouraged by what I heard from Donald Trump” in their much-anticipated meeting.
The Wisconsin lawmaker — who’s has yet to say he’s ready to back the presumptive Republican presidential nominee — says “it’s not a secret” that the two have had “our differences.”
Ryan says at a news conference after the meeting that the big question is “what do we need to do to unify the party.” He says they’re “planting the seeds” to accomplish that goal.
The head of the committee to elect Republicans to the House says he may disagree with Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies, but that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is a better White House option than front-running Democrat Hillary Clinton would be.
Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon says in a statement that he intends to support the GOP nominee. Walden’s statement came out shortly after other House Republican leaders met with Trump at Republican Party headquarters on Capitol Hill.
Walden says the last thing he wants is to give Democrats another four years in charge in the White House.
Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan say they had a productive meeting and see a great chance to unite the Republican Party and win the presidential election in November.
The presumptive GOP nominee and the party’s top elected official said in a statement after their meeting on party headquarters on Capitol Hill that they are “totally committed to working together” to achieve that goal.
They say they were “honest about our few differences” but also recognize “many important areas of common ground.”
More discussions are promised, but this first one was described as “a very positive step toward unification.”
Ryan has yet to come out in support of Trump. But the two say it’s critical for Republicans to united around “our shared principles, advance a conservative agenda and do all we can to win this fall.”
Donald Trump has wrapped up his meeting with House Republican leaders, including Speaker Paul Ryan, who’s expressed reservations about backing the presumptive presidential nominee.
Trump held back-to-back meetings on Thursday at party headquarters on Capitol Hill.
First, Trump met with Ryan and the party chairman, Reince Priebus (ryns PREE’-bus). Then he sat down with other members of the House Republican leadership, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise (skuh-LEES’).
Trump plans a separate meeting with Senate GOP leaders later Thursday.
The head of the Republican Party says the meeting with Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan was “a very positive step toward party unity.”
Reince Priebus (ryns PREE’-bus) tweeted that comment after their meeting Thursday morning at GOP headquarters on Capitol Hill.
Priebus tweeted: “The meeting was great. It was a very positive step toward party unity.”
Ryan said last week that he wasn’t ready to endorse Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee.
The longest serving Republican in the Senate says he’ll now support Donald Trump. But Utah’s Orrin Hatch says the presumptive GOP presidential nominee needs to tone it down.
Hatch is among the Senate GOP leaders set to meet with Trump later Thursday.
Hatch says Trump needs to soften his rhetoric and “always act in a manner worthy” of a nominee. The senator isn’t getting into details, but Trump has made critical comments about women, Hispanics and others.
Hatch says many of his constituents “have serious reservations” about Trump. In March, Utah voters went big for Trump’s chief rival at the time, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, in the state’s caucuses.
Hatch says Trump could unite Republicans and broaden his appeal by reconsidering his views on trade and overhauling benefit programs.
Hatch initially backed Jeb Bush in the race, and then Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Hatch says he’ll “do what I can” to help Trump run a successful campaign.
It’s a “circus out here.”
That’s what a Democratic congressman says as he walked by the Capitol Hill building where Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are meeting — and where boisterous protesters have gathered in the street.
Texas lawmaker Joaquin Castro says Trump — the presumptive Republican presidential nominee — “has been extremely divisive for the country” and is “tearing people apart. You can see the circus out here.”
Donald Trump has taken strong stands on immigration — and drawn equally strong reactions during his presidential campaign.
And it was no different when the Republican candidate arrived at a Capitol Hill building for his meeting Thursday morning with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Protesters tried to deliver a cardboard coffin to the Republican National Committee that they said represented the suffering of immigrants under GOP policies — and the death of the party under Trump.
The protesters weren’t allowed inside, but they did continue chanting and waving signs.
A smattering of protesters are outside the Republican National Committee offices on Capitol Hill where Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are meeting.
The presidential candidate entered the building through a side door for his first-ever get-together with the Wisconsin lawmaker — who hasn’t yet backed the presumptive nominee.
Outside, fewer than a dozen people are demonstrating — but they’re outnumbered by a sizable pack of reporters.
Some demonstrators are carrying signs that say “R.I.P. GOP” and using a megaphone to express their views that Trump’s rise means the fall of the Republican Party. One chant is: “Down with deportation, up with liberation”