A Republican National Committee draft resolution that would have formally declared Donald Trump the Republican Party’s 2024 presumptive nominee was withdrawn Thursday amid pushback from the former president.
David Bossie, the RNC committeeman from Maryland who recently endorsed Trump and introduced the resolution, withdrew it, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The Trump campaign had initially approved going forward with the resolution and the former president himself was also on board until a backlash began, a source familiar told CNN.
Trump said on his social media platform Thursday that the RNC should not move forward with the resolution, saying he appreciated the effort but was opposing it “for the sake of Party unity” and wanted to “finish the process off AT THE BALLOT BOX.”
His statement came amid concerns from Trump allies that the resolution could anger Republicans because of the perception that Trump was trying to stack the deck against former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a source close to the former president said.
While the former president would have still needed to reach the delegate requirements necessary to win the nomination, if the resolution had been approved and the RNC had shifted to a general election mode, he would have access to the RNC’s data operation, benefit from fundraising with the RNC, and have the support of all of the committee’s ground operations. It would also have meant the committee would have been supporting Trump and effectively opposing Haley – an unprecedented break from the party’s past approach to the nominating process.
The resolution, which was being reviewed by the RNC earlier Thursday, was first reported by The Dispatch on Thursday. A draft copy of the resolution was obtained independently by CNN.
“RESOLVED that the Republican National Committee hereby declares President Trump as our presumptive 2024 nominee for the office of President of the United States and from this moment forward moves into full general election mode welcoming supporters of all candidates as valued members of Team Trump 2024,” the resolution reads.
An RNC spokesperson said in a statement earlier Thursday that this resolution was still just a resolution and not the stance of the committee.
“Resolutions, such as this one, are brought forward by members of the RNC. Chairwoman McDaniel doesn’t offer resolutions,” communications director Keith Schipper said in the statement. “This will be taken up by the Resolutions Committee and they will decide whether to send this resolution to be voted on by the 168 RNC members at our annual meeting next week.”
The Haley campaign brushed off the resolution and said GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel should organize a debate ahead of the South Carolina primary at the end of February.
“Who cares what the RNC says? We’ll let millions of Republican voters across the country decide who should be our party’s nominee, not a bunch of Washington insiders,” Haley spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement. “If Ronna McDaniel wants to be helpful she can organize a debate in South Carolina, unless she’s also worried that Trump can’t handle being on the stage for 90 minutes with Nikki Haley.”
But her campaign was soon fundraising off of the draft resolution. “The RNC is leveraging the establishment to try and crown Trump the presumptive nominee,” Haley wrote in a fundraising email. “Well I have news for them: I’m in this to win it and I’m not going anywhere.”
The resolution comes just a few days after Trump defeated Haley in New Hampshire by more than 30,000 votes, following his decisive win in the Iowa caucuses. Those victories have led many prominent figures in the Republican Party to coalesce around Trump and call on Haley to exit the race. Earlier this week, McDaniel told Fox News, “We need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is Donald Trump.”
Current RNC rules require Trump to secure 1,215 delegates to officially become the party’s nominee. As of Thursday, CNN estimates Trump has 32 delegates while Haley has 17.
Some RNC members were discussing the resolution during a conference call Wednesday night, according to a Republican with knowledge of that call.
This story and headline have been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Kate Sullivan and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.
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