Feb 26, 2023 - Politics & Policy

RNC Chair: All candidates will pledge to support GOP nominee ahead of debate

All candidates wishing to take part in the Republican party's first presidential debate will have to sign a pledge to support the eventual 2024 nominee, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.

Driving the news: The RNC's debate committee voted earlier this week to set the first Republican presidential debate for August, in Milwaukee.

  • While the criteria for the debate haven't been released yet, the pledge was a requirement in 2016 and should be a "no-brainer" for the 2024 presidential debates, McDaniel said.
  • "Anyone getting on the Republican national committee debate stage should be able to say, 'I will support the will of the voters and the eventual nominee of our party,'" she added.

State of play: Host Dana Bash then played a clip of former President Trump's appearance on the Hugh Hewitt Show earlier this month, in which he was asked if he would support the GOP nominee, even if it wasn't him.

  • "It would have to depend on who the nominee was," Trump said.
  • McDaniel pointed out that Trump and all the other Republican candidates signed the pledge in 2016.
  • "I think they're all going to sign it. I really do," McDaniel said, adding that, "I think President Trump would like to be on the debate stage."

Bash then asked how the pledge could be enforced, given the fact that by the time the nominee is chosen the primary debates will be over.

  • "We're saying you're not going to get on the debate stage unless you make this pledge. 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 replied.
  • "We saw big races lost this cycle, because of Republicans refusing to support other Republicans," McDaniel said referencing the GOP falling short in several key 2022 midterm races.
  • "Unless we fix this in our party, unless we start coming together, we will not win in 2024," she added.
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