Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says his campaign "has never been so well united," despite several signs that the campaign and the Republican party are in disarray.
The latest indication came Wednesday when Trump's vice presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, endorsed Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan for reelection. Trump has gone against the party establishment by refusing to endorse Ryan for another term in the House.
Pence also had kind words for longtime U.S. Senator John McCain, saying the Arizona Republican has always stood up for America and a strong military.
Trump has made his dislike for McCain well known.
A number of leading Republicans, including former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, as well as Trump's former rivals for the Republican nomination, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich, have either declined to publicly endorse Trump or have given him lukewarm support.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was on the short list of candidates Trump was considering as potential running mates, said Wednesday that "what Trump has done [this week] is just very self-destructive." However, Gingrich said he thinks Trump will eventually rebound from the criticism he has been receiving.
While many military veterans normally would throw their backing behind a conservative candidate who talks tough, Trump has created controversy with his seemingly offhanded acceptance of a sacred Purple Heart medal from a retired officer — and his feud with the Khan family, parents of a Muslim-American soldier killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq.
Emory University political scientist Alan Abromowitz tells VOA he finds the Trump campaign "pretty incredible," and says it may be at what he calls a "tipping point."
"We have to wonder whether we'll see more erosion,” he said. “There has never been a candidate like [Trump] with his lack of self-control. The Democrats are trying to turn this into a referendum on Trump."
Trump appeared to be unconcerned by all the controversies during a campaign appearance Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Florida.
He tore into Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, calling her one of the "founders" of Islamic State because of what he said was her weakness as secretary of state.
The terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center in New York may not have been allowed into the country under a Trump immigration policy, he said.
He also promised to cut taxes and put "great people" on the Supreme Court.
Clinton holds lead
At a rally in Commerce City, Colorado, Clinton repeated President Barack Obama's assertion that Trump is "no doubt" unfit to be commander-in-chief and unqualified to be president.
Instead of insulting American servicemen and women, Clinton said she is grateful to anyone who has ever worn the uniform.
She earlier visited a necktie factory in Colorado and challenged Trump to manufacture Trump-brand ties in the U.S. instead of China.
A new public opinion poll released Wednesday night by Fox News shows Clinton expanding her lead over Trump from a similar survey at the end of June. In the latest poll, conducted earlier this week, Clinton holds a 10 percent (49-to-39) edge. Her previous lead was 6 percent (44-to-38).
VOA’s Ken Bredemeier contributed to this report.