The Republican National Committee (RNC) has updated its policy regarding participation in primary debates, requiring candidates to sign a pledge promising to support whoever wins the party nomination as a condition of taking place in debates.
“We’re saying you’re not going to get on the debate stage unless you make this pledge,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
Currently there are three high-profile candidates who have entered the GOP presidential race: former President Donald Trump, former South Carolina Governor and ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Several GOP sources told Fox News that McDaniel is concerned about a lack of unity sweeping through the party, which could hurt Republicans when they compete to re-take the White House in 2024.
“We saw big races lost this cycle because of Republicans refusing to support other Republicans,” McDaniel said, referencing lackluster performance in the 2022 midterm elections. “Unless we fix this in our party, unless we start coming together, we will not win in 2024.”
“I think it’s kind of a no-brainer, right?” McDaniel asked. “Anybody getting on the [RNC] debate stage should be able to say ‘I will support the will of the voters and the eventual nominee of our party.’”
Suspicions have been raised as to whether the statement is specifically meant to target Trump. Bash referenced a recent interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt during which Trump said “it would depend” on who the nominee was before committing to pledging support.
When asked if the RNC was prepared to block the former president from the debate stage, McDaniel said, “Everybody signed it in 2016.”
The first Republican presidential debate will take place in Milwaukee this August, in keeping with a tradition that the first debate takes place in the city that will host the GOP convention the following year.