RNC’s Rollercoaster Ride as Member Drops Presumptive Nominee Resolution, Drawing Unexpected Opposition

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By Victoria Mangelli

Former President Donald Trump has done it again, despite all odds. After a disappointing performance in the Iowa caucuses this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis decided to withdraw his candidacy from the Republican party. 

As a result, a Republican National Committee, RNC, member suggested a resolution to declare Trump as the party’s “presumptive” presidential nominee.

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The resolution was quickly withdrawn Thursday when Trump pushed back on social media stating he appreciated the effort but “for the sake of the Party unity” he wanted to “finish the process off AT THE BALLOT BOX.” The former president wanted to finish the election the “old-fashioned” way.

The draft resolution came from David Bossie, a Maryland national committee member, who has been a long-term Trump supporter. Until backlash began, the Trump campaign, including the former president himself, had initially supported this resolution. 

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However, worried that the resolution would anger Republicans who perceived it as setting Nikki Haley, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, up for failure, he refused.

If the resolution had been approved and the RNC had shifted to general election mode, Trump would have access to the RNC’s data operation, their support of all of the committee’s ground operations, as well as benefit from fundraising with the RNC. 

Considering how costly it is for Trump to keep fighting in the primary accompanied with his impending criminal trial, this would have been a great luxury for the former president.

However, things are looking promising for the Trump campaign. With Ron DeSantis’ endorsement and his conclusive victory in the New Hampshire primary- his call for party unity might be possible. 

But, South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, doesn’t plan to go down without a fight. If she keeps campaigning for at least a month, she supposedly will expose whatever reluctance about Trump that remains within the GOP.

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RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel has expressed her desire to support Trump if he continues to be successful in early caucuses and primaries. “I’m looking at the map and the path going forward, and I don’t see it for Nikki Haley,” McDaniel told Fox News following Trump’s victory Tuesday. This statement as well as the resolution came after Trump defeated Haley by more than 30,000 votes in New Hampshire.

Haley’s response, “Who cares what the RNC says? We’ll let millions of Republican voters across the country decide who should be our party’s nominee, not a bunch of Washington insiders.” 

GOP selects Ronna Romney McDaniel to lead party operation | PBS NewsHour
Credit: PBS

Olivia Perez-Cubas, Haley’s spokeswoman, said that if McDaniel wanted to be helpful she could organize a debate in South Carolina, unless “she’s also worried that Trump can’t handle being on the stage for 90 minutes with Nikki Haley.”

Current RNC relegations require Trump to obtain 1,215 delegates to officially become the party’s nominee. According to CNN estimates as of Thursday, January 25th, Trump has 32 delegates while Haley has 17.

Going off these guidelines, RNC member Oscar Brock from Tennessee, said he felt as though the resolution directly violated the intent of RNC rules around the presidential primaries. “The rules specifically say you’re not the guy until you’ve got 50% plus one of the delegates required for the convention,” he went on, “I would think that we would be more open to letting more people have a say in this process before declaring it over.”

Other members like Bill Palatucci from New Jersey also agreed with Brock, calling the proposal “crazy.” Adding, “This is insulting to the grassroots activists who wait four years for the chance to take part in the nominating process.”

Haley might not have been far off with her rebuttal. “The RNC is leveraging the establishment to try and crown Trump the presumptive nominee,” she wrote in a fundraising email. “Well I have news for them: I’m in this to win it and I’m not going anywhere.”

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