Trump causing headaches for GOP leaders

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump’s scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners presidential campaign has GOP leaders in knots, but the renegade real estate mogul indicated at a raucous town hall event Wednesday that he has no plans to dial back his message.

“The campaign is doing really well — it’s never been so well united — it’s the best in terms of being united since we began,” Trump told the crowd.

The brash Manhattanite proceeded to attack President Barack Obama over the administration’s apparent cash deal with Iran and the state of the American economy. The campaign stop comes after several days of fierce criticism over Trump’s verbal sparring with a deceased war veteran’s Pakistani-American family.

Wednesday also saw Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, differ on whether to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisconsin) reelection bid. Trump has yet to decide on whether to endorse Ryan, telling the Washington Post he questions Ryan’s leadership and stressing he’s “not quite there yet” in terms of his support level.

Pence meanwhile told his supporters that Trump has no problem with the Indiana governor lending his support to Ryan:

Trump has insisted there exists no division in his campaign:

Meanwhile, all signs inside the GOP point towards a party that is still struggling to handle the Trump phenomenon. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus was quoted Wednesday in the Washington Post as saying he is “very troubled” by Trump’s recent outbursts while Scott Reed, chief strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told the newspaper that a “new level of panic has hit the street” and that “it’s time for a serious reset.”

Trump has also hesitated to say whether he supports Sen. John McCain’s (R-Arizona) reelection efforts. Almost exactly one year ago it was Trump who questioned whether McCain, a military veteran who spent more than five years imprisoned at a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, was a war hero.

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said of McCain at the time. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Whether Trump pivots away from his pattern of personal attacks to making specific criticisms of opponent Hillary Clinton’s policy stances remains to be seen. It is arguably vocal outbursts, however, that most helped him navigate a GOP primary and beat out more than a dozen contenders.