Trump ally drops plan to declare him presumptive presidential nominee

By Tim Reid and Helen Coster

(Reuters) - A resolution presented to the Republican National Committee on Thursday to declare Donald Trump the party's presumptive presidential nominee was abruptly withdrawn hours later after objections from Trump.

The RNC, which oversees Republican elections, had been set to consider the proposal next week to declare former President Trump the party's presumptive White House nominee as pressure mounts on his last remaining rival, Nikki Haley, to drop out.

Trump ally David Bossie circulated a draft resolution to fellow RNC committee members that could have been voted on next week at the group's winter meeting in Las Vegas.

However when the news broke, Trump objected. In a message on his Truth Social platform, Trump said he wanted to become the White House nominee the "old fashioned way ... at the ballot box."

Bossie withdrew the resolution shortly afterwards, according to a person familiar with the RNC process.Bossie did not reply to a request for comment.

Some RNC members had complained that declaring Trump the presumptive nominee after just two contests was overbearing and unfair to Haley, his last surviving rival for the party's nomination.

Trump and his allies have begun a pressure campaign on Haley, who refused to bow out of the race after finishing second in the party's nominating contest in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

Her refusal to end her campaign has infuriated Trump, who wants to turn his attention to the general election and his Democratic opponent, President Joe Biden.

Trump, however, said the RNC "should not go forward with this plan", referring to Bossie's resolution.

Before Bossie withdrew his resolution, Haley was defiant.

"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," her campaign said in a statement.

Trump wants to knock Haley out of the race before the next major contest in her home state of South Carolina on Feb. 24.

On Wednesday night he threatened Haley's donors, declaring that anybody who continued to fund her campaign would be permanently barred from his political orbit.

Two Haley donors have already turned off the spigot, saying they see no path for her to win the nomination.

(Reporting by Tim Reid and Helen Coster; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Ross Colvin and Daniel Wallis)