Donald Trump & Reince Priebus' Feud Is Not A Fight The Candidate Is Going To Win
The Republican National Convention is three months away, and although focus should be centered on how the GOP presidential candidates compare, Donald Trump's increasingly public feud with RNC Chair Reince Priebus is beginning to overshadow the party's primary. The two have been arguing back and forth over how the Republican Party awards delegates for weeks now, with Trump now saying he's not sure he'd keep Priebus around as chairman if he secured the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination and avoid a brokered convention.
The Republican frontrunner, who's campaigned as an outsider candidate throughout the primary, ramped up his attacks against the establishment over the weekend with comments regarding the likelihood he'd try to oust Priebus from the party should he become the nominee. "I don't know. I haven't made the determination," he told The Washington Post in an exclusive interview released Sunday.
But Trump might find pushing Priebus out isn't as easy as he's making it sound. Priebus isn't likely to acquiesce to Trump should he win the nomination and decide to ask the chairman to step down. Furthermore, Trump likely won't find a significant amount of support from Republicans for attempting to remove Priebus, as he's very well liked by the conservative community.
Priebus was elected to a third term as RNC chairman in an almost unanimous vote in January 2015 following the party's success in the 2014 midterm elections. He's heavily supported by the Republican National Committee, according to RNC Communications Director and Strategist Sean Spicer, who credited him with establishing "the gold standard of political parties" in an interview on CNN Sunday. "Any candidate that got the nomination would beg Reince Priebus to stay as chairman because he's been so successful," Spicer said. "Under this chairman, we've put together the best resource and staff and equipped political party in the history of the United States."
Priebus hasn't seemed very concerned about Trump pondering his removal, telling CNN he wasn't kept up worrying about the issue. "Since I know what the truth is, I don't really worry about it because I know what is right and I know what is wrong," he said. "There's nothing that the RNC can do to alter the rules between now and the convention. It's not the RNC's place. So I don't sit here and internalize the charge, because there's no there there."
The real estate mogul has been complaining about how he thinks the GOP's delegate system is "rigged" for a while now. He's voiced frustration over Wyoming handing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz its 14 delegates despite not spending much time or resources campaigning in the state and over Cruz sweeping all of Colorado's 34 delegates without the state holding a primary vote or caucus. "The Republican National Committee, they should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to kind of crap to happen," NBC News reported Trump said while speaking at a campaign rally in Rome, New York, last Tuesday. "The rules are no good when they don't count your vote ... like in Colorado. The rules are no good when you have to play dirty tricks to pick up delegates."
Unhappy with the idea of facing a brokered convention, Trump appears to be taking his frustrations out on Priebus and the RNC chair isn't happy about being dragged into something he says he has no control over. "I don't write the rules for the Republican party, the delegates at the convention write the rules for the Republican party," Priebus said during an appearance on NBC's TODAY on Friday. "It's pretty much the same system the Democrats use; delegates and voters choose the nominee... What is true is that the system can be changed, but it has to be changed at the [national] convention if people want to change it with the delegates. That's how our system rules are written."
Priebus, who worked hard to help the GOP gain a majority in Washington in 2014, has made it clear he has bigger things on his plate then fielding candidate complaints about fairness. "Quite frankly, the complaining that goes on is something that I think probably distracts from what we need to do, which is to come together as Republicans."