© Reuters. Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the recent derailment of a train carrying hazardous waste, during an event at a fire station in East Palestine, Ohio, U.S., February 22, 2023. REUTERS/Alan Freed
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican Party plans to ask 2024 presidential candidates to pledge support for the eventual nominee, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on Sunday, espousing an idea so far not embraced by former President Donald Trump.
Candidates who do not sign the pledge will not be allowed to participate in party-sponsored debates during the state-by-state presidential nominating contests, McDaniel said.
“It’s kind of a no-brainer, right? 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,” McDaniel said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
Trump, who remains popular in the Republican Party but is already facing challenges in his next White House bid from former supporters including Nikki Haley, has so far refused to commit to supporting the eventual Republican nominee.
“It would depend,” Trump said early this month in a radio interview. “It would have to depend on who the nominee was.”
McDaniel said she believed all the candidates, including Trump, would sign the pledge and it would be an important move toward healing divisions within the party and having a unified front.
“We’re saying you’re not going to get on the debate stage unless you make this pledge. And I think people in our party really want to see that. They want to see us come together. They don’t want the infighting,” McDaniel said.
Trump did not immediately react publicly to her comments but a campaign spokesperson told Reuters, “President Trump will support the Republican nominee because it will be him.”
Trump and Haley, the former South Carolina governor whom Trump picked as his ambassador to the United Nations, have announced their candidacies for the Republican nomination.
Vivek Ramaswamy, an activist investor who launched a firm last year to pressure companies to abandon environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives, last week became the latest Republican to announce a run.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott are among those considering mounting a challenge to Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination.