Donald Trump’s former butler has attracted the attention of the US Secret Service for online threats he has made against President Barack Obama.
Anthony Senecal, who served the presumptive Republican nominee at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, has a Facebook page filled with incendiary comments, many directed at the president and his family.
Mr Trump’s campaign said in a statement: “Tony Senecal has not worked at Mar-a-Lago for years, but nevertheless we totally and completely disavow the horrible statements made by him regarding the President and first family.”
The Secret Service said it is “aware of this matter and will conduct the appropriate investigation”.
Mr Trump met with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday who said he was “very encouraged” following his meeting with the billionaire businessman.
Mr Ryan has yet to say he is ready to back Mr Trump, saying “it’s not a secret” that the two have had “differences”.
But the House Speaker told a news conference after the meeting that the big question is “what do we need to do to unify the party”. He said they are “planting the seeds” to accomplish that goal.
Others in the Republican Party are also softening their approach to Mr Trump.
South Carolina senator, Lindsey Graham, who had previously called Mr Trump a “nut job” and a “loser” told reporters that he spoke with him by telephone on Wednesday. He described Mr Trump as funny, cordial and said he asked insightful questions about national security.
“He’s got a great sense of humour,” Mr Graham said. “He’s from New York. He obviously can take a punch.”
Mr Graham, who waged an unsuccessful bid for his party’s White House nomination, said he does not retract anything he said during the heat of the campaign and he still will not endorse Mr Trump.
Former house speaker John Boehner is backing Mr Trump despite disagreeing with his stance on banning Muslims from entering the United States, tearing up trade deals and other issues.
Mr Boehner said Mr Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for president “whether people like it or not”.
And he is confident that Mr Trump can defeat the likely Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton in November.
“Anyone who thinks Donald Trump can’t win – just watch.” Mr Boehner said at a conference of finance industry leaders in Las Vegas.
And the head of the committee to elect Republicans to the House said that while he disagrees Mr Trump’s rhetoric and policies, the presumptive nominee is a better White House option than front-running Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Greg Walden of Oregon said he intends to support the Republican nominee. Mr Walden’s statement came shortly after other House Republican leaders met with Mr Trump at Republican Party headquarters on Capitol Hill.
He said the last thing he wants is to give Democrats another four years in charge in the White House.