Local Republicans Respond to Latest Trump Controversies

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SACRAMENTO -- Donald Trump was out stumping in Jacksonville, Florida, Wednesday as fellow Republicans at the highest levels of his party seem to be holding their collective breath -- hoping to not hear what they'd see as another gaffe from the GOP presidential nominee.

Perhaps the biggest since his convention?

Trump's very public fight with the Muslim family of a slain U.S. solider who criticized him from the DNC podium.

"I think it seems very refreshing to the people that you have a candidate who speaks his mind as opposed to groomed politicians that will lie to you about whatever he wants to hear," said Jorge Riley.

The Gold Star slug-fest was not a game changer for the president of the grassroots Sacramento Republican Assembly.

Riley also isn't bothered, as many of his party's elite are, that Trump has snubbed House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain since pushing unity in Cleveland, by now not endorsing them in their current re-election bids.

"He's not gonna go along with people who are normally puppet masters pulling strings of the candidates. He's gonna do what he wants to do, and hopefully that will be to change the way things have been in the past," said Riley.

When asked how the latest doings by "The Donald" are affecting his campaign in California, state director Tim Clark would only say we're going to "let Mr. Trump speak for himself about these things."

That - sounding very much like Trump's national campaign director acknowledging who's really in the driver's seat on FOX news.

"The candidate is in control of his campaign. I'm in control of doing the things he wants me to do in his campaign," Paul Manafort said Tuesday.

There are rumblings that GOP chairman Reince Priebus, Newt Gingrich and Rudy Guiliani may even stage an intervention of sorts with the nominee over the snubs, the Gold Star situation and his comments about Russia and Ukraine.

"What's going on is Donald Trump is unraveling and in the process he's unraveling the Republican Party," said Doug Elmets, a Republican now backing Hillary Clinton.

Former Reagan White House spokesman and fresh off his speech for Clinton at the DNC, Elmets isn't surprised to hear more Republicans turning away from the party standard-bearer he left long ago.

Still he says, "we've seen Donald Trump rebound time and again after he's fallen into what we think is the abyss. So, I wouldn't count Donald Trump out yet, but he's got a lot of work to do to repair not only his image, but the so-called unity of the Republican party."

Elmets believes a first step could be denouncing the hate that Trump's campaign seems to be inspiring, like what's been directed at him since backing Clinton.

"Another person wrote to me, 'I hope your wife and daughters are raped and murdered," he said.

And then there are things like the picture of a hangman in the gallows accompanied by the words "ready for Hillary" tweeted out by the Riverside County GOP.

In Sacramento, FOX40 spotted a driver who put a sign in his back window wishing that O.J. Simpson had married Hillary.