With the hotly anticipated 2024 election cycle only months from going into full swing, the Republican National Committee is weighing whether to require presidential candidates who want to participate in the debates to sign a loyalty pledge promising to support whoever emerges from what is expected to be a bruising primary process.
The RNC’s Temporary Standing Committee on Presidential Debates is expected to meet next week to formalize details for the party’s officially sanctioned debates which will likely kick off sometime this summer with recently reelected chairwoman Ronna McDaniel concerned that disunity and lingering hard feelings could harm the party’s efforts to make Joe Biden a one-term president and bring an end to his reckless regime’s war on America.
“After the primary, it is imperative to the health and growth of our Republican Party, as well as the country, that we all come together and unite behind our nominee to defeat Joe Biden and the Democrats,” McDaniel said in a statement to the Associated Press in response to questions about the loyalty pledge
GOP contenders were asked to commit to a similar pledge in 2016 when the bombastic billionaire businessman Donald J. Trump upended the party establishment, shredding favorite Jeb Bush and sixteen others, working through opponents like Clint Eastwood at the end of “Pale Rider” on his way to seizing the nomination, leaving lingering resentment from the vanquished along the path to his historic upset of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
The resilient Trump, who somehow survived an onslaught by Democrats as well as members of his own party like former congresswoman Liz Cheney who joined the left-wing opposition to unite against their common enemy, suggested that he might not be on board with supporting the winner of the 2024 nomination if it isn’t him.
“It would have to depend on who the nominee was,” Trump told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on whether he would commit to supporting the winner if he didn’t emerge from the primary scrum with the nomination.
Trump has repeatedly taken shots at the man who would present the most serious challenge to his third White House run, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a rising GOP rock star who has yet to announce whether he will run for the presidency in 2024.
The former and perhaps future POTUS once again lashed out at the popular Sunshine State Republican leader whom he has tabbed with at least one of his famous nicknames.
“I will never call Ron DeSanctimonious ‘Meatball’ Ron, as the Fake News is insisting I will. Even though FoxNews killing lightweight Paul Ryan is revered by him, Low Energy Jeb Bush is his hero and always at his side, his beaches and State were closed for long periods of time, his testing, testing, testing for the China Virus didn’t work out too well, and his loyalty skills are really weak, it would be totally inappropriate to use the word ‘meatball’ as a moniker for Ron!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.
(Image: Screengrab/Truth Social)
In 2016, Trump’s nicknames included “low energy Jeb” Bush, “Lil Marco” Rubio and “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz among others, DeSantis has yet to take the bait by countering Trump’s insults.
Other than Trump, other potential candidates have also suggested that their support of the eventual nominee would be contingent on who it is.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a favorite of the media who has frequently been mentioned as a serious contender, took to Twitter earlier this month to state that he would not commit to supporting Trump if he wins the nomination.
“To be clear, my position on Trump hasn’t changed. Trump won’t commit to supporting the Republican nominee, and I won’t commit to supporting him. As I have repeatedly said, I fully expect to support the Republican nominee — who I don’t believe will be Trump,” Hogan said.
To be clear, my position on Trump hasn't changed. Trump won't commit to supporting the Republican nominee, and I won't commit to supporting him. As I have repeatedly said, I fully expect to support the Republican nominee — who I don't believe will be Trump.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) February 2, 2023
Chris Sununu, New Hampshire’s Republican governor who is also considering a White House run has said on several occasions that he would support the nominee but that he was certain that it would not be Trump.
“For leaders such as myself who believe Donald Trump is not the right direction for the country — and I said specifically that Jan. 6 disqualified him — that would certainly make it a problem for me to give an across-the-board inclusion pledge,” former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, who is also mulling a 2024 run, told The Washington Post.
“President Trump is the undisputed leader of the Republican Party and will be the nominee,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement to Fox News. “There is nobody who can outmatch President Trump’s energy or the enthusiasm he receives from Americans of all backgrounds.”
“We have a lot of candidates running saying, ‘I’ll never support Trump,’ and if you are going to get on this debate stage, you are going to have to say, ‘I’m going to support the nominee,’” McDaniel told ‘War Room’ host Steve Bannon in a January interview on his podcast. “We cannot have a rigorous debate process and come out with a nominee and have anyone say, ‘I’m walking away.'”
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