Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel will require all 2024 GOP presidential contenders to sign a pledge to back the party’s nominee if they wish to participate in primary debates.
That includes former President Donald Trump, who was the first candidate to enter the 2024 race.
The GOP’s nominee in both 2016 and 2020 is now one of three candidates running. Former Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy both joined the race in February.
More candidates are sure to join, and McDaniel stated Sunday they have an ultimatum to either sign a pledge to support the eventual nominee or they can not participate in the debate process.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” McDaniel told network anchor Dana Bash, “We’re saying you’re not going to get on the debate stage unless you make this pledge.”
The pledge is almost certainly crafted with the intent to prevent Trump from considering a third-party bid, should he fail to capture the nomination.
“As RNC chair, if I said I wouldn’t support the Republican nominee, I would be removed from office,” McDaniel said.
“We haven’t put the criteria out, but I expect a pledge will be part of it. It was part of 2016,” she noted.
Trump agreed to support other candidates with a similar pledge in 2016, but he ultimately ran away with the nomination.
McDaniel said requiring candidates to support the party’s eventual nominee is a “no-brainer.”
“If you’re going to be on the Republican National Committee debate stage asking voters to support you, you should say, ‘I’m going to support the voters and who they choose as the nominee,’” she added.
McDaniel also said candidates who participate in the upcoming debate process must be serious about winning.
“You want to make sure you have people on the debate stage who are running for president,” McDaniel told Bash. “We don’t want people who are running for book deals, or media contracts, or Cabinet positions.”
The first primary debate will be held in August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
CNN asked Trump for comment on McDaniel’s decision to announce a pledge. Through a representative, the former president said he supports the idea.
“President Trump will support the Republican nominee because it will be him,” the representative said.
Trump previously stated he would have to give serious consideration to supporting a nominee other than himself.
“It would have to depend on who the nominee was,” he stated.