That could come as early as next week.
At LAT, "Republican elite are shifting their thinking on Donald Trump: 'You know, this could happen'":
Republican leaders who view Donald Trump as a pox on their party have finally settled on a strategy: Resist him as long as they can. Then figure out how to retreat gracefully.More.
Most mainstream Republicans still worry that Trump would make a bad president. And they hold deep concerns that his incendiary rhetoric and ideological smorgasbord of ideas could damage the party, both politically and philosophically, so profoundly that it might never recover.
But even as many party elites have fallen in line behind Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in recent days — believing him the best hope to defeat Trump — they no longer dismiss the billionaire celebrity or insist that it will all work out, as it usually does for the establishment in GOP primaries.
“A lot of longtime Republicans, probably a couple weeks ago, had to sit down and think, ‘You know, this could happen,’ ” said Trent Lott, the former Senate majority leader from Mississippi who is now a Washington lobbyist.
For many in the party establishment, that reckoning amounted to an existential crisis, a moment to reflect on where their core beliefs end and where their practical political instincts kick in.
If Trump wins the nomination, his combative relationship with the establishment will end in an embrace, though perhaps an uneasy one, predicted Lott, who is backing Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
“They’re not going to sign up, and they’re not excited by the prospect,” Lott said of his fellow party standard-bearers. “But I think they’re thinking that if he becomes the nominee — he runs the table and becomes the nominee — we’re certainly going to support him if it comes to Hillary or Bernie.”
It’s a slow process. Several establishment figures, including former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Reagan administration Secretary of Education William Bennett, said in recent days that Trump has reached out to them to talk policy, sending a broader signal that he may be able to win over at least a few establishment allies. And others have sounded notes of increasing acceptance...