The Republican National CommitteeThe chairman has said that all GOP primary candidates should sign a pledge pledging to support the eventual party nominee if they want to participate in the presidential debates.
Ronna McDaniel, the RNC’s leader since 2017, told CNN in a interview Sunday that while the debate criteria have yet to be released, the loyalty pledge should still be a “no-brainer” for the party’s presidential hopefuls.
“If you’re going to stand on the Republican National Committee debate stage and ask the voters to support you, you should say, ‘I’m going to support the voters and whoever they choose as the nominee,'” McDaniel told CNN host Dana Bash.
“Anyone who walks on the Republican National Committee debate stage should be able to say, ‘I will support the will of the voters and the eventual nominee of our party,'” she added.
Bash went on to play a recent Donald Trump interview clip in which the former president indicated to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he wasn’t sure if he would support the eventual GOP nominee if it wasn’t him.
“It would have to depend on who the nominee was,” said Trump, who announced himself as a 2024 candidate last fall.
In response to that clip, McDaniel said, “I think they’re all going to sign” the loyalty pledge.
She added: “I certainly do. I think President Trump would like to be on the debate stage.
“We can’t attack each other so much that we lose sight of: We have to beat the Democrats. We have to beat Joe Biden in 2024. And we can have divisive primaries and disagreements, but ultimately we have to resolve them to win the big picture, which governs our country and do right by the American people,” she said.
Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, who is considering a run for the Republican nomination for president, has criticized the pledge of allegiance.
Hutchinson has said that Trump should not be allowed to run for president because his supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 after he urged them to fight like hell.
“For leaders like myself who believe that Donald Trump is not the right direction for the country … it would really make it a problem for me to make a promise of inclusion across the board,” Hutchinson told Washington Post earlier this month.
McDaniel addressed Hutchinson’s criticism by saying, “I think you support the voters.” McDaniel said she is the niece of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, was appointed to the RNC by Trump and would support either if they clinched the 2024 nomination, although the two men did not endorse each other.
Other Republicans who have entered the presidential race include former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador Nikki Haley and biotech millionaire Vivek Ramaswamy.
Prominent Republicans who could eventually launch presidential runs include former Vice President Mike Pence, ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The RNC has scheduled its first presidential debate for August.