Donald Trump voiced his opposition to a resolution being proposed to the Republican National Committee that would name him the presumptive GOP presidential nominee even though rival Nikki Haley remains in the race. The effort by national party officials was seen as a symbolic show of support for the former president and would allow more party resources to be devoted to Trump’s campaign.
The RNC confirmed earlier Thursday it planned to consider a resolution declaring Trump the party’s presumptive nominee — even though 48 states have yet to cast their ballots in the primary race. The proposed resolution, which was first reported by the Dispatch, garnered swift criticism from RNC members in states across the country.
But on Thursday night, Trump wrote on Truth Social that the RNC shouldn’t move forward with its consideration of the proposal.
“I feel, for the sake of PARTY UNITY, that they should NOT go forward with this plan, but that I should do it the ‘Old Fashioned’ way, and finish the process off AT THE BALLOT BOX,” he wrote.
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Before Trump had weighed in, RNC spokesperson Keith Schipper said in a statement that the resolution would be taken up by the RNC’s Resolutions Committee, which would “decide whether to send this resolution to be voted on by the 168 RNC members at our annual meeting next week.” Schipper emphasized that RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel does not offer resolutions but that they are brought forward by RNC members.
That resolution has now been withdrawn, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.
Haley’s campaign, in an email Thursday evening, blasted the proposed RNC resolution.
“Trump’s establishment lackeys are pushing for a toothless resolution to deny millions of Republican voters from having a say in the presidential contest,” the campaign said.
If the resolution had been adopted by the broader pool of RNC members at its winter meeting in Las Vegas next week, it would have started the process of having the national party integrate with Trump’s campaign as though Trump is already the elected nominee. Trump’s current campaign operation has not yet integrated itself with the RNC, and Democrats have had a significant head start in fundraising and organizing because they have operated internally as if President Biden would be the nominee since he took office in 2021.
This action typically does not happen until a candidate has garnered 1,215 delegates in nominating contests.
Haley is the only major challenger to Trump remaining in the Republican primary. And although she came closer to beating him in New Hampshire than some pre-primary polling indicated, she still faces an uphill battle in the remaining nominating contests.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), who endorsed Haley and campaigned alongside her in the Granite State, called the resolution “absolutely awful.”
“[Haley’s] not going anywhere because Ronna McDaniel says so or Trump tries to keep manipulating things,” he told CNN on Thursday before the former president publicly declared his opposition to the proposed resolution. The party, Sununu argued, was “moving the goal post. They’re changing the rules. But when you do that, that’s usually done because they’re afraid.”
McDaniel recently signaled her support for getting the party to coalesce behind the former president.
She told Fox News on Tuesday night, after Trump was declared the winner of the GOP primary in New Hampshire, “I’m looking at the math and the path going forward, and I don’t see it for Nikki Haley.”
McDaniel said it was time for the party to “unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump.”
Her comments came as the RNC is putting the finishing touches on a joint fundraising agreement with state parties that will allow the nominee to accept checks up to $836,300 from wealthy donors, according to a person familiar with the plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
While she’s facing increasing pressure from Republicans to drop out, Haley has repeatedly vowed to stay in the race for the long haul, saying that voters do not want to see a Trump “coronation.”
After initial news about the resolution broke, RNC members from Mississippi, Tennessee and New Jersey publicly criticized the proposal.
Gordon Ackley, the chairman of the Republican Party in the U.S. Virgin Islands, also voiced his concerns about the resolution, writing on X, “The Virgin Islands will go ahead with the caucus on February 8.”
“It is unfortunate other Republicans want to deny their voters the opportunity to be heard and cast a vote. Regardless of who you support, there is a process that must be followed,” added Ackley, who welcomed Haley for a GOP state committee virtual event earlier this week.
Haley’s campaign appears to be leaning into the potential to scoop up votes in open or semi-open primaries, given that she has fared better with independent and unaffiliated voters than Trump.
Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney noted in a memo earlier this week that South Carolina and Michigan each have open primaries — a more welcoming political landscape for Haley. And on March 5, or Super Tuesday, 11 of the 16 states and territories will host open or semi-open primaries, representing “significant fertile ground,” Ankney wrote.