Trump controversies create dilemma for GOP leaders, voters

Donald Trump's string of controversial statements has led some high-profile Republicans to back away from supporting his candidacy for president. To Republican leaders and elected

Trump's campaign is negotiating with Sacred Heart University to hold a rally Saturday evening at the Pitt Center.

Trump's campaign is negotiating with Sacred Heart University to hold a rally Saturday evening at the Pitt Center. (8/5/16)

WOODBURY - Donald Trump's string of controversial statements has led some high-profile Republicans to back away from supporting his candidacy for president.

To Republican leaders and elected officials, Donald Trump presents a dilemma -- do they support his candidacy or condemn his more contentious comments?

Long Island's two Republican Congressmen, Peter King and Lee Zeldin, both criticized some of Trump's recent comments, especially those aimed at the parents of a slain Muslim-American soldier.

But both say he'd make a better president than Hillary Clinton.

"He's not my first or second or even my third choice, but he's my final choice. Considering the Supreme Court appointments coming up and rebuilding the military, I'm supporting Donald Trump," says King.

"Neither of those candidates are perfect candidates and I don't agree with either of them on everything," says Zeldin. "I disagree with them on both policy and statements that have been made. But between the two of them, he's a better option than she is."

Still, there's a fear not only among Republican leaders, but also among middle-class suburban Republican voters that Trump could lose the election and cause damage to their party.

"This particular candidate has the potential to drive away large amounts of swing voters from the party to the Democratic camp," says political analyst Michael Dawidziak.

Clinton has surged ahead in national polls since the Democratic National Convention. An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday has her up 9 points, 47 percent to 38 percent.

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