The trouble with Donald Trump

A Trump supporter clashes with protesters outside a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photo / AP
A Trump supporter clashes with protesters outside a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photo / AP

Congressional Republicans are beginning to accept, and even embrace, an outcome that was once unthinkable: Donald Trump as the GOP presidential nominee.

In the wake of the businessman's commanding wins in five Eastern states this week, a growing number of lawmakers say that Trump is taking on an air of inevitability. Some argue they should get behind him now instead of trying to stand in his way, as some establishment Republicans are still attempting to do by backing various "Never Trump" efforts.

But still it seems the party's frontrunner courts controversy at every turn. This week he waded into politically risky territory when he accused Democrat Hillary Clinton of exploiting her gender to win votes and said she would have little support if she were not a woman.

And last night there were more signs that Trump continues to divide Americans as clashes broke out as he brought his campaign to California.

Dozens of protesters were mostly peaceful as Trump gave a speech inside Orange County's Pacific Amphitheatre. After the event, however, the demonstration grew rowdy and spilled into the streets.

At least four people were arrested and one Trump supporter had his face bloodied in a scuffle as he tried to drive out of the arena. One man jumped on a police car, leaving its front and rear windows smashed and the top dented in and other protests sprayed graffiti on a police car and the venue's marquee.

Dozens of cars - including those of Trump supporters trying to leave - were stuck in the street as several hundred demonstrators blocked the road, waved Mexican flags and posed for selfies.

Police in riot gear and on horseback pushed the crowd back and away from the venue. There were no major injuries and police did not use any force.

Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Costa Mesa, Calif. Photo / AP
Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Costa Mesa, Calif. Photo / AP

And still the Trump campaign gathers momentum. And it got a big boost yesterday from one of the Republican Party's most respected elder statesmen who condemned his main rival Ted Cruz as "Lucifer in the flesh". John Boehner, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, added: "I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone. But I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life."

It was the most hyperbolic laceration of Cruz yet by one of his own colleagues.

For good measure Boehner added that he would not vote for Cruz if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee to take on Hillary Clinton.

Boehner made his remarks at Stanford University in California, and they were reported by the Stanford Daily student newspaper.

Other lawmakers agree that supporting Trump is their only hope of stopping Clinton, who looks set to be the Democrats' candidate in November and ensuring a Democratic president doesn't fill Supreme Court vacancies.

- Telegraph Group Ltd, AP

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