CNN's Ana Navarro and Fox News' Karl Rove, two commentators deeply involved in Republican politics, are convinced that GOP presidential candidates who make it onto the first primary debate stage will have to confront Donald Trump and his controversial comments on immigration.
"He won't last long," Navarro said of Trump in an email to the Washington Examiner media desk. "Let's hope he doesn't do lasting damage."
Even so, she wrote in a column for CNN.com on Sunday that Trump is a factor in the race for the White House and it will serve the candidates to rebut controversial comments Trump has made in recent weeks about many immigrants being criminals and "rapists."
"My fingers twitch as I write this, but in all likelihood, Trump will participate in at least some of the Republican debates," Navarro wrote. "Initially, my advice to other candidates would have been to not take his bait and ignore the guy. But because his outrageous comments have become so public, and because he is running as a Republican, it is important for other candidates who stand on that debate stage to show leadership by unequivocally batting down Trump's offensive comments."
Monday on Fox News, Rove cautioned that the GOP candidates should be "respectful" but ready to answer for Trump.
"Every Republican had better be prepared to be asked about this because they will be asked by somebody in the media or provoked by a Democrat," Rove said. "Treat him with respect. ... right from the beginning, treat him with respect and put the emphasis on what they believe and what they would do. And if possible, never say his name."
The Republican candidates have so far offered mixed reaction to Trump. Ted Cruz has said he would not engage in attacking another Republican. Chris Christie, however, called the remarks "inappropriate."
Jeb Bush called Trump's views "way out of the mainstream of what most Republicans think."
"While I don't like the verbiage he's used, I like the fact that he is focused on a very important issue for American workers and particularly, legal immigrants in this country," Rick Santorum said Sunday on MSNBC.
The first GOP primary debate is scheduled for Aug. 6.