RNC chief criticizes #nevertrumpers, calls for unity
As Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus has no intention of presiding over the destruction of the Republican party - something that has a good chance of happening if Donald Trump is denied the nomination at this point.
So Priebus played the good soldier and issued a plea for unity and indirectly called upon the anti-Trump crowd to unite behind whoever is the nominee.
“This goes for everyone, whether you’re a county party chairman, an RNC member, or a presidential candidate. Politics is a team sport, and we can’t win unless we rally around whoever becomes our nominee,” he added, drawing applause from the audience.
“They’re trying out for our team. No one is forcing them to wear our jersey. We expect our candidates to support our party and our eventual nominee.”
The comments seemed pointed at the growing movement of conservatives who insist they won’t back Donald Trump if he’s the GOP nominee.
Priebus also promised that the nominating process at July's Republican National Convention in Cleveland would be “fair, democratic and transparent,” and that the GOP would not give the nomination to anyone who does not secure a majority of delegates.
“As our nomination process goes on, we are preparing for all possible scenarios. We might have a nominee by July. Or we might have a nominee through the balloting process at the convention,” he said.
“The rules say you have to have 1,237 delegates to be the nominee. We aren’t going to hand the nomination to anyone with a plurality, no matter how close they are to 1,237. You need a majority. Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”
The comments were an apparent shot at Trump, who has decried the delegate system as “rigged” against him by establishment forces.
Trump leads the GOP field in delegates, but he may fall short of the 1,237 required to clinch the nomination before the convention. The front-runner has said that he should be the nominee even if he only receives a plurality of delegates.
We shouldn't envy Priebus his position. He's caught between two warring factions - one of which will be bitterly disappointed following the convention. His call for unity is falling on deaf ears at this point, and picking up the pieces after the convention and putting the party back together may be beyond anyone's ability.
But as chairman of the party, he has to put on a brave face. Trying to maintain some kind of impartiality is next to impossible when every move he makes is questioned by both sides. Rules changes or no rules changes. More nominations allowed or not. He's aiming for the middle road but is being pushed to the curb by one faction or another.
Both candidates don't care for him and are unlikely to keep him in his present position after the convention. Then, someone else will have the unenviable task of presiding over a party that is almost certainly headed for an historic defeat in November.