For decades, the Republican Party has claimed ownership of America’s moral standing. Everything from family values, to the insistence that marriage is only between a man and a woman, to the idea that each of us must create our own success, to the belief that lawsuits are simply an excuse for not taking personal responsibility for our actions.

It is interesting then, that so many prominent Republican leaders who have publicly expressed disgust at some of the words and actions of Donald Trump, still say they support his candidacy for president. The Huffington Post has put together a list these individuals, and as you read through it, you will likely be shaking your head, wondering where the moral compass of the Republican Party really is pointing.

It’s unusual to see so many party leaders and high-profile Republicans struggle openly with their opinion of the presumptive nominee. The biggest crack in his foundation of Republican support came when the reality star said that an American judge of Mexican descent would be biased against him in court. Trump also touted that the Orlando nightclub shooting last month justified his proposed ban on Muslims entering the country.

Here’s a rundown of some notable Republicans who’ve stuck by Trump despite faulting him for intolerant statements and behavior:

Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Is America's Biggest Welfare Recipient


Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on June 26, McConnell twice declined to answer if he thought Trump was qualified for the job.

“Look, that will be up to the American people to decide,” McConnell said. “He won the Republican nomination fair and square. He got more votes than anybody else against a whole lot of well-qualified candidates. So our primary voters have made their decision as to who they want to be the nominee. The American people will be able to make that decision in the fall.”

Earlier in June, McConnell left open the possibility that he’d withdraw his support for Trump when asked what would cause him to rescind his endorsement. “I’m not going to speculate about what he might say or what I might do. But I think it’s pretty clear. I’ve been very clear publicly about how I think he ought to change directions, and I hope that’s what we’re going to see,” McConnell said, according to The New York Times.

Paul Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., give the thumbs-up as he speaks during the third day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

On Tuesday, Ryan once again admonished Trump, this time for the tweet featuring a Star of David with the words “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever” next to a picture of Clinton against a backdrop of $100 bills.

“I really believe he’s got to clean up the way his [social] media works,” Ryan said on Wisconsin radio station WTMJ. “He’s got to clean this up.”

Ryan leveled some of his sharpest criticism after Trump repeatedly said that U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel should recuse himself from a lawsuit involving Trump University, because the judge’s Mexican heritage would unfairly influence decisions against Trump.

“Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” Ryan said. “I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable.” Moments later, however, Ryan reiterated his support for Trump.

That follows previous incidents when Ryan called out Trump for appearing to condone violence against protesters at his rallies and for not immediately disavowing support from a former Ku Klux Klan leader. Through it all, though, Ryan hasn’t reneged on his support.

Newt Gingrich

CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 20: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich delivers a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Gingrich might join Trump on the ticket even though he’s criticized the real estate developer over his comments about Curiel.

“It was one of the worst mistakes Trump has made. Inexcusable,” Gingrich said on Fox News, though he didn’t call it an example of racism.

Marco Rubio


Remember Trump dubbing him “Little Marco” and Rubio’s quip about the front-runner’s “small hands”? Well, the Florida senator eventually came to offer Trump his support despite the high levels of personal animosity between the two during the primaries and caucuses.

Yet Rubio, who’s now seeking re-election as a senator, said in June that while he did not want Clinton in the White House, his support for Trump comes with serious reservations.

“The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me,” Rubio said, according to Business Insider. “It is no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald Trump. His positions on many key issues are still unknown. And some of his statements, especially about women and minorities, I find not just offensive but unacceptable.”

With Clinton likely to secure the Democratic nomination, Rubio and other Republicans find it convenient to tepidly stick with Trump.
Ben Carson


The retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate is perhaps unique because he’s criticized Trump as a member of his inner circle. Carson has been one of Trump’s most vocal supporters since endorsing him in March, but in June he publicly connected the comments about Curiel to a “moral descent.”

“Every human being is an individual first rather than a member of an identity group. The moment we forget that is the moment we enter into a phase of moral descent,” Carson said in a statement to Politico.

Trump has privately admitted the attacks on Curiel were a mistake, according to Carson.