The Republican National Committee is meeting behind closed doors this week as some allies of Donald Trump had hoped to put the group’s stamp on the former president early in the 2024 GOP presidential nominating campaign.
But a proposed resolution to declare Trump the presumptive nominee has been removed from the agenda before the committee is scheduled to meet in Las Vegas this week, party officials said.
The reversal comes as the first two early-state contests have winnowed the Republican campaign down to two major candidates, with Trump as the heavy favorite and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley vowing to continue her uphill challenge.
What was expected to be an uneventful RNC winter meeting in Las Vegas this week briefly gained heightened attention last week after the resolution, introduced by Maryland Committeeman David Bossie, to name Trump the presumptive nominee became public.
Bossie was Trump’s deputy campaign manager in 2016 and advised his team when Congress pursued a second impeachment after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Within hours of the resolution’s leak, Trump batted down the proposal, which some members of the committee criticized publicly as premature.
“While they have far more votes than necessary to do it, I feel, for the sake of PARTY UNITY, that they should NOT go forward with this plan,” Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social.
There is no formal RNC rule barring the party from declaring a presumptive nominee. And there is precedent for such a move. In 2016, then-RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the presumptive nominee after the Indiana primary, though that was in May and Trump had battled Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for three months since Cruz finished first in the leadoff Iowa caucuses ahead of second-place Trump.
The Associated Press only uses the term once a candidate has captured the number of delegates needed to win a majority vote at the national party conventions this summer.
That point won’t come until after more states have voted. For both Republicans and Democrats, the earliest it could happen is March.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel suggested last week that Haley had no path to the nomination in light of Trump’s majority vote totals in the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses and the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary.
“We need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump, and we need to make sure we beat Joe Biden,” McDaniel said in a Fox News interview the night of the New Hampshire primary.
Haley said Sunday during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the RNC was “clearly not” an honest broker “if you’re going to go and basically tell the American people that you’re going to go and decide who the nominee is after only two states have voted.”
“The American people want to have their say in who is going to be their nominee,” she said. “We need to give them that. I mean, you can’t do that based on just two states.”
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