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"Inside Politics" Forecast: Trump trust factor
03:44 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Some GOPers are concerned about whether Donald Trump and his camp will stay true to his word

The Faith and Freedom Coalition may reveal how Ted Cruz and evangelicals treat Trump as presumptive GOP nominee

Washington CNN  — 

Some members of the GOP are wondering if they can trust Donald Trump. In a new twist, Trump’s comments about a Latino judge could impact House and Senate races. And skeptics, from evangelicals to Mitt Romney, are sounding off about the presumptive Republican nominee.

The “Trump Effect” is everywhere this election season, and it’s all in this week’s “Inside Politics” forecast, where you get a taste of tomorrow’s headlines today.

1) Will Trump’s attacks on federal judge hurt other candidates?

The potential down-ballot impact of Trump’s controversial statements has been a question since the earliest days of his candidacy, and all the more so now: His attacks on the federal judge overseeing a fraud suit against Trump University have some Republican strategists furious.

A big test for the GOP is whether it can hold its Senate majority. But Trump’s claim that the judge has a conflict of interest because he is of Mexican heritage could make things awkward for several Republican Senate candidates who need Latino support.

Jonathan Martin of The New York Times sees three potential testing grounds of this down-ballot political fallout:

“You’ve got three senate races – Arizona, Nevada and Florida – that are crucial with populations with large Hispanic folks there, and that is going to be fascinating to watch, watching what they say.”

2) Questions of trust

Donald Trump has a trust deficit with his own party. And some say it makes convention planning and general election coordination more difficult.

There are more and more complaints that statements by Trump and his aides too often turn out not to be accurate. Or not lasting, anyway.

Top Trump aides, for example, have told GOP strategists they understand some candidates and officials will need to distance themselves from Trump. But several officials who have taken such steps have later come under fire from Trump himself.

And now some high-ranking GOPers are calling Trump’s attacks on the judge the last straw.

Trump has repeatedly told RNC Chairman Reince Preibus and other top Republicans he understands the party needs to improve its standing with non-white voters. Party leaders say he has promised to make a more concerted and polite effort to reach out to African Americans and Latinos.

“What they say and what he does are often very different things,” a senior party official tells CNN. “Most of us are past the point of thinking we can trust that things will change, or trust what he tell us.”

3) Follow the money to the House and Senate

It’s no secret much of the Republican establishment is lukewarm at best about having Trump atop the GOP ticket. But that hesitation is in some ways a financial boon for other GOP fund-raising committees – especially those trying to defend the House and Senate majorities.

CNN’s Manu Raju detailed how concerns about Trump are changing the flow of GOP cash.

“Big money is increasingly going to outside groups trying to fund Senate races on the Republican side. The Senate majority leader’s super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund, is expected to get big money now that donors are not spending their money behind Donald Trump. This includes the Koch Brothers as well,” he said, referring to two of the wealthiest GOP donors. “They are expected to spend more money in 2016 Senate races than they did in the last cycle.”

4) A big meeting for Trump and his evangelical critics

The Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting this week offers Donald Trump a chance to build support with a voting bloc that’s been critical to his success in the GOP primaries and will also be key to his chances in November.

But it is also a high-profile platform for a number of Trump critics, some – like primary rival Ted Cruz – with deep evangelical ties.

Jackie Kucinich of The Daily Beast previewed some of the big moments to look for:

“I’ll watch how Ted Cruz speaks at the event and how a lot of his supporters deal with their new reality with Donald Trump at the head of their ticket.”

5) Tensions at Mitt Romney’s summit?

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were a team in 2012, leading the Republican ticket in the fall presidential campaign.

But they are in very different places now. Romney says he can never support Trump, while Ryan, the House speaker, has endorsed the presumptive GOP nominee despite some big policy disagreements.

The Atlantic’s Molly Ball shared her reporting on how that divide will be a subplot as Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, holds his annual political retreat this week in Utah.

“This year is expected to be a quieter affair,” says Ball. “There could be a little bit of tension in the room full of big-money guys.”