Election 2020

Trump Spox: 'There Is No Republican Primary, as the RNC Has Made Clear'

So much for impartial arbitration of intra-party competition.


In a move that escaped much journalistic attention last week year, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted unanimously to disband its debate committee, an explicit signal that the traditionally impartial body is not interested in officiating a primary challenge against President Donald Trump. Incumbent presidents will continue their unbroken string of avoiding primary debates.

Over the past five months, as former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld threw his hat into the ring and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan played footsie with a run, the RNC has merged with Trump's re-election campaign, passed a resolution pledging "undivided support" for the president, and taunted any potential competitors.

In an interview Wednesday with the Daily Mail, Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany was blunt about Weld's Quixotic fight to dislodge a president who polls consistently at 90 percent approval among Republican voters.

"There is no Republican primary, as the RNC has made clear," McEnany said. "That's the highest own-party approval rating for a president, with one exception—and it's [George W.] Bush during 9/11….President Trump got more votes in the history of our party than any Republican nominee. So the notion that there is a Republican primary is a false one."

As for Weld? "The fake news can try to create a primary but it doesn't exist because our voters stand with the president," she said.

Polls even in their home states have been brutal for Trump's real and would-be challengers. An April 29–May 4 Gonzales Maryland survey of 203 likely Republican voters showed Gov. Hogan trailing the president, 68 percent to 24 percent. Weld in an April 4–7 Emerson College poll of 183 likely Massachusetts voters got thrashed, 82 percent to 18 percent. The Trump machine is basically taking a bazooka to a thumb-wrestling match.

NEXT: The U.S. Just Imposed New, Higher Tariffs on China. Blame Trump's Faulty Trade War Strategy.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Is this somehow surprising?

    1. No it isn’t. And it is actually the reason why third-parties need to get off their butts and organize debates – even interparty debates like between L’s and G’s to get some chance of oxygen – during the DeRps primary season.

  2. Why would GOP members want to waste time and money with joke candidates never winning against Trump?

    I for one welcome the fiscal restraint on the part of Republicans. It might mean that there are still some fiscal conservatives left in the GOP leadership.

    1. Even if Trump is likely to sail to a primary win in the Republican party, it seems strange to shut down any chance for any other candidate to stand up and say, “Hang on a minute!”.

      Look at the flak the DNC got for sidelining Bernie Sanders in 2016. We all thought that was pretty corrupt, did we not (even though it’s a private corporation and can do whatever the fuck it wants etc. etc.)_

      1. Apples and oranges. SHilly wasn’t a sitting president and as equal campaigners the DNC was corrupt in diverting funds & feeding debate questions to the preferred candidate. Sitting president vs Challenger is a different story. If the approval was low, might make sense to debate etc.

        1. Bernie was real close to winning, but for the super delegates mostly siding with Hillary.

    2. Nah, fuck that. Why even bother with the election? Why should the country waste its time with joke candidates that have no chance against Trump? I, for one, welcome the fiscal restraint on the part of the government that would come with not wasting all those resources on a pointless election whose outcome is already predetermined.

      1. Just more Lefty strategies to derail Trump rolling back the Socialist state. If Trump does debates and a primary, its less time to make the Leftie cry each day.

        Always look at motivations. Lefties want Trump to not ignore joke RINO challengers. This means that its not in Trumps interest to give the RINOs any attention. Trump is fine with having his staff tweet how bad the joke candidates are.

    3. But Trump was a joke candidate and he won.

      1. Trump was not a joke candidate when he promised the things he did.

        Lefties underestimated Trump in 2016 and still do.

        Even if Trump was a joke candidate, he won. Weld is a joke candidate and will never win.

    4. Yes, fiscal conservatism from the ones who cut taxes and put 2 trillion more on the debt counter.

      What reality do you really live in?

      1. Democrats have to work with Republicans on budgets to get 60 votes to pass.

        Democrats refuse to cut budgets.

  3. Since in my libertarian world the role of the President isn’t any more significant than any other CEO in any corporation, I have a hard time getting worked up about his sycophants wanting him to go unchallenged.

    In my non-libertarian world view, anything that would allow one of the socialist crazies to be put in power is to be avoided at all costs.

    In my tribal world view, watching the wailing and gnashing of those who think the current king of our country isn’t worthy to fill the shoes of our last king is wonderful, and if it can go on for four more years I’ll be an entertained and happy camper.

    1. love the summary. agreed.

    2. In my tribal world view, watching the wailing and gnashing of those who think the current king of our country isn’t worthy to fill the shoes of our last king is wonderful, and if it can go on for four more years I’ll be an entertained and happy camper.

      The wailing and gnashing of teeth was entertaining for the first three months after 2016, now it’s just disturbing.

  4. Incumbent presidents will continue their unbroken string of avoiding primary debates.

    So this is not extraordinary? I can put away my “Trump = Democracy’s Greatest Threat” sandwich board for another day?

    1. You can put it next to your other sandwich boards listing each and every past president as Democracy’s Greatest Threat

      1. That a whole lot of shit sandwiches on those boards…

  5. I respect that Bill Weld basically endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016. He’s my kind of Republican, which of course means he doesn’t have a chance in today’s white nationalist version of the party.


    1. This is what I came here for.

  6. If I were Trump, I wouldn’t debate Weld if I could avoid it. What’s the upside? There’s risk of a gaff and the internet chopping up what you say to use it against you, and Weld will only subject Trump to all sorts of criticism. What the benefit of that to Trump or the party?

    If Trump loses support because he doesn’t debate Weld, then that’s a risk he’s choosing to take.

    Not much of a risk at this point.

    If Weld won New Hampshire, that might make Trump want to debate him, but even if the RNC were holding a debate, it wouldn’t be in Trump’s best interest to show up. He’d do better to hold a rally the same night somewhere else.

    1. Free air time? Not that he needs it. Plus he does do well in these, making himself look strong compared to Weak Weld may help him. But pretty much with you there isn’t much upside for Trump.

    2. If I were Trump, I wouldn’t debate Weld if I could avoid it. What’s the upside?

      Speaking for myself, I think a debate between The Donald and Weld would be amusing.

    3. I guessing there will be no Trump debates in 2020. I don’t think the President is going to want to take questions from anyone other that a friendly host. He backed out of the Republican debates last year when he was winning. Expect no Republican debates and no Presidential debates (Republican vs Democrat) this year. I maybe wrong, but I am beating that way.

  7. doubt there an (R) w/the nards to take on T anyway.

    1. Throwing that out, asking with Weld, who would be the next most likely R (assume Trump spontaneously decided to retire)?

  8. Good to know but meh.

  9. Strategy says appearing on stage as an equal with a weak opponent gives the opponent more recognition than the candidate in the lead can possibly gain with such an engagement

    Joint press conferences with an opponent only make sense in a more even contest and they are not a mandatory part of election in any sense of the word. No incumbent candidate worth his salt would engage Weld.

  10. I wish we would see more references to this president being the anti-christ. I saw a good amount last time, and I’m really missing it.

    The POTUS being accused of being the anti-christ can only be positive for this country.

    1. There’s evidence that he is indeed the Anti-Christ. I don’t take the Biblical eschatology literally, but Trump does fit the criteria. Jesus warned us that in the end times that there would be false prophets that would lead people astray while using the name of Christ. Trump has done this, with half the evangelical leadership proclaiming his messiah-hood. This vulgar pussy grabber has convinced most evangelicals that he’s not only Christian, but that he’s the chosen of God. It’s utterly bizarre.

      Can’t buy or sell without the mark of the beast? Conspiratards say this is about the Federal Reserve or something, but Trump’s arbitrary tariffs could fit. Can’t import or export without his express permission. So far that’s local to the US. But there’s more than one Anti-Christ, he’s just the US Anti-Christ. He’s definitely leading the way towards a new world trade philosophy. Not that much further until no one in the world can trade without express permission of an arbitrary national leader.

      1. “”Can’t buy or sell without the mark of the beast? Conspiratards say this is about the Federal Reserve or something, but Trump’s arbitrary tariffs could fit.””

        It would be the cashless society.

      2. There’s a very deep and odd cognitive dissonance at work, in the minds of evangelical and eschatologically-minded Christians who support Trump (like Pompeo). They’re pro-Israel only because the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem is one of the key signs of the end times. So they’re in favor of policies that bring that about. But the Anti-Christ is supposed to be instrumental in that effort. So they’re literally supporting the Anti-Christ.

        But there’s nothing in the Bible that suggests that God is going to give Christians supporting the Anti-Christ some kind of “get out of Hell free” card. No, those people are damned. True Christians are supposed to resist the Anti-Christ and be martyred trying, if they’re not raptured away first.

  11. It’s one thing to say that the RNC will not sponsor debates. That’s consistent with historic practice. But the Trumpsters are declaring that their will be no . Primaries are conducted by the states under state law. The RNC can’t declare primaries “off.”

    1. I still can’t figure out these #%^€ tags.

      1. And apparently Reason has nixed the debates on the edit or preview buttons. Talk about shutting out dissent!

        1. Seriously.

          Gotta have a preview.

      2. be no what? suspense killing me ha

        1. more Delta, no more fun of any kind.

          1. +1 he can’t do that to our pledges.

      3. Which tag(s) are you having trouble with.

        HTML links

        Block quotes

        And Strong are working for me. These are the only tags I typically use here.

    2. I’m not inclined to verify, but while they may not be able to call off the actual primaries conducted by the states†, does the RNC have to care? If it really wanted to, couldn’t they change the rules for the next national convention such that regardless of the delegates chosen by the states, they still nominate Trump for president?

      I’m sure there’d be different language in there, but I don’t see a reason they couldn’t do that, other then their own rules… which they can change.
      †Which is a whole separate rant.

  12. But… Pence! There is a Vice President as well. Doesn’t matter how deep down the RNC throat Trump’s dick is, there’s still a Vice President to consider. Why the assumption that it must be Pence?

    1. Even if Trump chooses a different running mate for 2020, that has nothing to do with primaries.

    2. It wouldn’t be the first time a Presidential candidate didn’t select a running mate until after the conventions. In fact, the convention runner up is historically a typical choice for VP candidate.

      1. When was the last time that “the party” had a say in the VP choice? By 1980 at least, this was all up to the candidate. Maybe back in the 70’s? There was talk of back room dealings and Teddy Kennedy getting a veep nod in exchange for not making a fuss on the floor. Same goes for talk about Jesse Jackson. But I don’t know that it ever amounted to anything.

        I think that ever since the modern primary system set in it has been a formality that the winning candidate picks his running mate and the party rubber stamps that choice. Dan Quayle? Palin? Lieberman? Ferraro? I don’t think there was some huge swell of support for these candidates from within the party.

  13. Trump should throw his hat in the dem primary, just to keep busy.

    1. That would be something to see.

      And when he won the nomination, well, there’d be Democrats falling like rain.

      And he would win the Dem nomination.

    2. That would be incredible.

  14. So which Democratic candidate debated Obama in 2011?

    1. Per the article that you didn’t read:

      Incumbent presidents will continue their unbroken string of avoiding primary debates.

      1. No, we all read it.

        We’re just wondering where all the panicky articles were when the DNC did the same goddamned thing with Obama.

        Why is it suddenly an issue that the party with the incumbent president is standing with that incumbent president?

        Has your TDS rotted your brain that much?

  15. “There is no Republican primary, as the RNC has made clear,” McEnany said.

    So the GOP is a private corporation now that can make up its own rules about how candidates are selected? Does this mean my tax dollars are no longer going to be used to fund their elections process? Last time I checked, the Moose Lodge elected new officers and there were no polling places open, no public officials assigned to print ballots and count votes and oversee the elections – not even taxpayer-funded free “I Voted” stickers.

    And McEnany is one of the bubble-headed bleached blondes that Don Henley referenced – she went straight out of college to cheerfully chirping whatever bullshit she was told to like she was angling for a job on FOX News.

    1. So the GOP is a private corporation now that can make up its own rules about how candidates are selected?
      Yes, and this shouldn’t be a surprise at all. If the DNC wants to hand all the superdelegates to Hillary, there’s nothing we can do about that. If the RNC wants to change its own rules so that Ron Paul can’t speak on the convention floor, that’s what they are gonna do.

  16. Poor Welchie, I can see him crying amidst a pile of “Bi for Bill” Tshirts and paraphenalia

  17. So much for impartial arbitration of intra-party competition.

    Yeah… that’s the moment… 2019 when a sitting president doesn’t face any serious challenge from within his own party…. yup. That’s the end of impartial arbitration.

    2019 is the end. Not 2016, when the DNC actually rigged their primary for one of the candidates in an election when there was no incumbent.

    Did we forget that? I mean, it didn’t get all that much coverage, even though they cleared house at the top of the DNC. So maybe we just forgot. Or maybe we don’t really know what we are talking about at all? That’s possible too….

  18. I support some of Trump’s political measures. But for the escalating Sino-US trade war, I oppose it. This will have an adverse impact on the economies of both countries. https://www.sccpre.cat/show/bTbmb_donald-trump-png-donald-trump-eating-poop/

  19. Awww, if he won’t debate Weld, how are we going to learn how great the Democrats’ candidates are?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.