Former US President Donald Trump has accused his successor, Joe Biden, of complete failure almost a year after taking office. Trump complained that crime and illegal migration had increased drastically. In addition, Biden embarrassed the United States on the world stage.
In fact, the organizing body of the Republican Party is required by its own statutes to be neutral when there is more than one candidate for the presidential nomination. However, the prospect of a new attempt by Donald Trump in 2024 is eroding this consensus.
Before the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump’s aggressive campaign took the RNC by surprise – the administrative body of his Republican Party, which is responsible, among other things, for coordinating the campaign strategy. As a result, for the 2020 election, the Republican National Committee practically had to support the incumbent president. Looking ahead to 2024, however, it has a free hand.
In the next presidential election, the RNC, which controls the rules and institutions of the Republican Party, has no obligation to support a Trump candidate. Rather, according to the statutes, it must remain neutral if there is more than one contender for the party’s presidential nomination. But the debate about it has already started.
At last week’s RNC winter meeting in Utah, party leaders insisted on a strategy to support Trump if he tried again for the White House. “If President Trump decides to run, the RNC has to get behind him, 100 percent,” said Michele Fiore of Nevada, who has been a member of the RNC since 2018. “We can change the statutes.”
Her position has received support from a whole group of newcomers to the body, who feel connected to Trump and emphasize that they want to bring new impetus to the party with changes. On the other side are veterans like Utah’s Bruce Hough, who are defending the Republican institution.
“The RNC must provide a level playing field for any presidential candidate,” Hough said in Salt Lake City. “That is our task. That’s what we have to do.”
He was backed by Bill Palatucci of New Jersey, an outspoken Trump critic. “Prior to the 2020 election, or for most of his tenure, Trump sent out his lackeys to fill the committee with very loyal Trump people,” Palatucci said. “And they still enjoy that strong majority.
With signals of support for a possible candidate, Trump, more than two years before the next election, the party body is clearly deviating from its course before the past races for the White House. In 2012 and 2016, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was very careful to treat applicants equally. Up to 17 candidates were allowed to compete in a dozen debates.
Now, according to Trump critic Tim Miller, the situation has changed. “There’s a clear bias there that didn’t exist in the past,” the former RNC staffer said. It’s all about Trump now.
A year ago, shortly after the inauguration of the Democratic election winner Joe Biden, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel refused open support for a new Trump candidacy when asked. Instead, she referred to party statutes that required neutrality. At the same time, she countered attacks on party members who had voted for such impeachment in the previous impeachment trial against Trump.
Now, however, McDaniel has backed Trump supporters, who have warned Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for their criticism of Trump. In a resolution the RNC voted in favour of by a majority on Friday, the two politicians are accused of supporting “democratic efforts aimed at the annihilation of President Trump”.