Trump Calls to Revamp RNC If Debates Continue

The Republican frontrunner is calling for the GOP leadership to be more strategic with their finite funds.
Trump Calls to Revamp RNC If Debates Continue
Then-President Donald Trump speaks after his introduction by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel at a fundraising breakfast in a restaurant in New York City on Dec. 2, 2017. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Nathan Worcester

Former President Donald Trump has just raised the stakes in the standoff between his movement and the GOP establishment for the heart of the Republican Party.

In a Nov. 20 post on Truth Social, President Trump highlighted new poll results from Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies and the Harris Poll, saying both suggest that the Republican National Committee (RNC) should spend money against Democrats rather than investing in additional Republican presidential debates.

“If not, revamp the RNC, now!” the former president wrote.

The post comes just a few weeks ahead of the fourth GOP debate, scheduled for Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. President Trump, the Republican front-runner, has boycotted every such event so far.

It also follows businessman and GOP 2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s petition calling on RNC head Ronna McDaniel to resign. He made the same demand early in the third debate.

Mr. Ramaswamy isn’t alone in questioning Ms. McDaniel’s leadership, particularly after the GOP and conservative proposals fared poorly in multiple Nov. 7 elections and ballot initiatives. In recent weeks, Trump allies have stepped up their criticism of her.
“I think the overhead of the entire operation needs to be examined,” Trump adviser Roger Stone said in a Nov. 16 appearance on Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Rumble show.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said in another recent interview: “I think Ronna McDaniel’s got a lot of things that she’s got to answer to and she’s got to do it fast. You can’t just say it’s the state parties, even though [in] some of these elections—Ohio, Kentucky—the state party has a lot of answers that they need to bring as well. But Ronna is the head of the table. She’s the RNC chair. She’s got to step up.”

Ms. McDaniel, the niece of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), was elevated to her current position after a key endorsement from President Trump at the start of his term.

She responded to the criticisms in a recent interview with CNN’s Dana Bash.

“This Republican-on-Republican infighting—I’m not running for president, so I’m not in this primary—isn’t helping our party,” Ms. McDaniel said.

“We need every Republican and then some to win elections. And the Republican voters want to hear us talk about the border, fentanyl, Israel, our kids, crime, inflation, and they want to see us take on Joe Biden.”

The RNC head also pledged to back President Trump if he’s the nominee. He has declined to sign the loyalty oath that he would back the party’s eventual choice, one of the conditions for appearing in the debates.

A Revealing Poll

The Harvard/Harris survey, conducted last week with more than 2,580 American voters, shows that President Trump is massively favored by GOP voters.

Of those surveyed, 67 percent said President Trump would be their choice for president in the next election. Just 9 percent selected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Mr. DeSantis barely edged out former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who was at 8 percent. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy sat at 5 percent, and just 3 percent of GOP voters who responded said they would choose former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The former New Jersey governor has sought to make an issue of President Trump’s absence from every debate so far. At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, he tried to turn the tables on a man known for giving his opponents memorable nicknames by calling him “Donald Duck.”

Republican Presidential candidate and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visits the Kfar Aza kibbutz in Israel on Nov. 12, 2023. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visits the Kfar Aza kibbutz in Israel on Nov. 12, 2023. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

In his Truth Social post, President Trump said Mr. Christie was “dead in the water.” He also referred to Ms. Haley, now emerging as a major rival, as “Birdbrain” and called Mr. DeSantis “DeSanctimonious.” Only Mr. Ramaswamy was spared.

Most Harvard/Harris respondents predicted that President Trump would be the Republican nominee, although most of the Democratic voters in the survey disagreed. Notably, 84 percent of Republican respondents made that prediction, as did 70 percent of independent voters.

Two-thirds of respondents indicated that they think President Joe Biden seems too old to be president, and 58 percent voiced doubts about his mental fitness for the presidency.

Republicans have made much of the prospect of a 2024 run by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who’s slated to debate Mr. DeSantis later this month. Yet he’s tied for fourth in the list of candidates Democratic voters indicate they would like to run if President Biden drops out.

Vice President Kamala Harris attends a Rose Garden event at the White House on May 25, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Vice President Kamala Harris attends a Rose Garden event at the White House on May 25, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Almost a quarter of those respondents chose Vice President Kamala Harris, 13 percent selected Hillary Clinton, and 10 percent chose perennial socialist hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Mr. Newsom was tied at 7 percent with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Nathan Worcester covers national politics for The Epoch Times and has also focused on energy and the environment. Nathan has written about everything from fusion energy and ESG to Biden's classified documents and international conservative politics. He lives and works in Chicago. Nathan can be reached at [email protected].