Leadership in the Tennessee Republican Party remained under fire Wednesday from some of the party’s most prominent members.
Several members of the GOP State Executive Committee – a board that oversees the Tennessee Republican Party – told NewsChannel 5 they are not satisfied with how party leaders are talking -- or not talking -- about Donald Trump, the party’s nominee for president.
For days, the party has said “we’re encouraging people to vote their conscience,” instead of offering a clear endorsement for Trump.
Kathryn Bryson, a member of the State Executive Committee, said that phrase isn’t strong enough.
“The voters of Tennessee elected Donald Trump in the primary, and I respect their decision,” Bryson said.
Bryson and other committee members NewsChannel 5 spoke with say they want party chairman Ryan Haynes to specifically endorse Trump, even calling for Haynes' resignation if he won't do it.
“For my part, I would remove Chairman Haynes right now,” Bryson said.
Bryson says if Tennessee Republican Party leadership -- including Haynes – doesn’t endorse Trump, it could hurt the party. She says it could even be against the party's own by-laws.
“Withholding the endorsement from our Republican nominee, Donald Trump, assists non-Republicans in the general election for U.S. President,” Bryson said.
This afternoon, news of the clash may have reached the national Trump Campaign, as they released a statement telling all state parties to back the Republican Nominee.
Bryson admits, in any political party there are bound to be disagreements, but she says support for Trump as the party's presidential candidate is something the party can't afford to be split on.
“This is a very important presidential election, and we really need to be showing more unity than we are,” Bryson said.
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes sent NewsChannel 5 the following statement Wednesday evening:
"We remain convinced that Donald Trump will easily defeat Hillary Clinton and win our state's 11 electoral votes. While that race is settled here, the job of the State Republican Party is to support and elect Republican nominees from the very top to the bottom of the ballot in Tennessee. I am of the firm belief that every Tennessean -- when they follow their conscience and look at potential Supreme Court vacancies, our crushing national debt, and a host of other critical national issues -- will inevitably be voting against Hillary Clinton and her disastrous policies, as well as Democrats up and down the ballot, that will only serve as an extension of the Obama Administration."