In the race to become U.S. president, if Republican candidate Donald Trump was coming off a bad week, it was hard to tell at a pair of political rallies Saturday where he thumped both Democrats and Republicans.
First at a convention center in Tampa, Florida, and then in an airport hangar outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the presumptive Republican nominee tore into fellow Republicans who have been slow to back him.
"I'd like to see Republican leadership be very strong, very smart, and you got to be cool,'' he said in Moon Township, Pa., saying Republicans risk losing seats in the House of Representatives and Senate.
"If not, I'm gonna win, but a lot of other people are not,'' Trump said. "We are going to win either way.''
In Tampa, where Trump hugged an American flag, he saved his most vicious broadsides for former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who, speaking Saturday at a Republican retreat in Utah, said in a race between presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Trump, "either choice is destructive.''
"Mitt Romney is a sad case. He choked,'' Trump said. "You know what a choke artist is? You know a guy who missed a kick — you get rid of him, right?''
Trump said he is expanding his slogan from "Make America Great Again" to "Make America Great Again for Everybody." He has been criticized for his original, nostalgic slogan because it evoked memories for some portions of the American population of a time when the country was not as inclusive as it attempts to be today.
Trump also revived "Crooked Hillary,'' his favorite moniker for Clinton, and called her a "maniac.'' He again went after another one of his vocal critics, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, calling her "Pocahontas,'' a reference to what she has said is her Native American ancestry.
"I said yes, I will apologize — to Pocahontas,'' he said in Tampa. "To Pocahontas I will apologize, because Pocahontas is insulted.''
The rhetoric came on the heels of a week that saw the billionaire candidate's poll numbers slipping.
Real Clear Politics' most current polling data showed Trump an average of 3.8 percentage points behind Clinton.
A Fox News poll had Clinton ahead by 3 points, while Reuters gave an 8-point advantage to the Democratic candidate.
Earlier Saturday, at his annual business-and-politics summit in Utah, Romney told about 300 businessmen and Republican donors that Trump was setting a dangerous example by promoting "trickle-down racism."
At one point, Romney blinked back tears. "I love this country," he said. "I love the founders. I love what this country is built upon, and its values. And seeing this is breaking my heart.''
Minutes after Romney spoke, Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus told the audience Trump would be an effective president and that he would win with or without their support.
Trump replied to Romney on Twitter Saturday:
“Mitt Romney had his chance to beat a failed president, but he choked like a dog. Now he calls me a racist, but I am least racist person there is.”
At a closed-door session of 300 major Republican donors and business leaders, House Speaker Paul Ryan faced tough questions, The Washington Post reported.
Although reporters were not allowed inside, three people anonymously told the paper the toughest question came from Meg Whitman, chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. She asked Ryan how he could endorse a candidate who, she contends, demonstrates poor character and leads a campaign based on personal attacks and division.
Ryan cited the increased pressure put on him by House members in districts where Republican voters strongly support Trump.
An attendee pleaded, “Will you please run for president in 2020?” The room burst into applause.
McConnell advises Trump
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a BloombergPolitics podcast released Friday, said the likely Republican nominee would need to choose an experienced running mate and should change course on his rhetoric on ethnic groups.
“He needs someone highly experienced and very knowledgeable because it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t know a lot about the issues,” McConnell said of Trump. “... It’s why I have argued to him publicly and privately that he ought to use a script more often. There is nothing wrong with having prepared texts.”
Yet, the Kentucky Republican senator said he is “comfortable” supporting Trump.
While one party is divided, the other is beginning to coalesce.
“To be great, we can't be small," Clinton recently told voters at a rally in Brooklyn.
Clinton made history last week as the first woman to become the presumptive nominee of a major political party. President Barack Obama endorsed her in a video put out by the Clinton campaign, saying she has “the courage, the compassion to get the job done.”
Vice President Joe Biden and progressive Senator Warren also signed onto Clinton's “I’m with her” campaign.
The endorsements came after Obama held a one-hour Oval Office meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
The independent socialist, who caucuses with Senate Democrats, stopped short of conceding the nomination to Clinton. He told reporters of plans to meet with Clinton in the near future and called for the party to come together to face Trump.
"The American people will not vote for or tolerate a candidate who insults Mexicans and Latinos, who insults Muslims, who insults African-Americans and women,” Sanders told reporters at the White House. “I will do everything in my power, and I will work as hard as I can, to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States."
Sanders returned to his hometown of Burlington, Vermont, to spend a quiet weekend before returning to Washington, D.C., for the final contest of the primary campaign Tuesday.
In an email to supporters Saturday, he said, "I thank you for everything you've shared with me and all the support you've given our campaign. Now it's time to bring it home on Tuesday.''
At week's end, the Chicago Tribune's editorial board said the "obvious paradox" is that Trump is further isolating his campaign from much of America, and Clinton is "claiming triumph" as the first woman to lead a major party.
“That demarcation between the Clinton and Trump candidacies — her message of inclusion, his embrace of exclusion — may thread through the candidates' upcoming speeches, ads, tweets and interviews. Or maybe Trump will realize how damaging his vitriol is to his Oval Office aspirations,” the Tribune said.
Some information for this report came from AP.