Republican National Committee (RNC) members voted on Friday to throw the party’s “undivided support” behind President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE ahead of his 2020 reelection bid as speculation continues to mount about potential primary challengers.
The resolution unanimously approved by the RNC at its winter meeting in New Mexico offered “undivided support for President Donald J. Trump and his effective Presidency.”
While the resolution is largely symbolic, it is also unusual, because the RNC has historically refrained from expressing support for a candidate before he officially becomes the party’s nominee.
The vote on Friday signals how the Republican Party has come to fully embrace Trump, three years after many Republican officials and members dismissed him as a thorn in the GOP’s side.
The vote isn’t the only sign of the party’s deepening ties to Trump. The president’s campaign committee is expected to merge its field and fundraising operations with the RNC for the reelection bid, creating a single entity intended to streamline campaign efforts.
The moves appear to be aimed at discouraging other Republicans from challenging Trump for the party’s nomination in 2020.
Former Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism Trump asserts his power over Republicans Romney is only GOP senator not on new White House coronavirus task force MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism Kelly holds double-digit lead over McSally in Arizona: poll Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE (R-Ariz.), who were among Trump’s fiercest Republican critics in Congress, have been floated as possible primary challengers.
Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMilley discussed resigning from post after Trump photo-op: report Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Attorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury MORE (R-Utah), the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, also stirred speculation of a potential bid against Trump after he recently penned an op-ed for The Washington Post accusing the president of failing to provide the country with clear moral leadership.
No Republican has announced a bid against Trump yet.
RNC members also voted unanimously on Friday to reelect Ronna Romney McDaniel as party chair.
McDaniel, who is Romney’s niece, has been an ardent defender of Trump since assuming the top RNC role in 2017, even criticizing her uncle for his op-ed earlier this month.
While Trump remains largely popular with Republican voters, his overall job approval has fallen in recent weeks amid a prolonged partial government shutdown.
An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released this week showed Trump’s approval dipping to just 34 percent — down 8 points from a month earlier.
Still, the poll showed Trump’s approval among Republican voters near 80 percent, suggesting that he largely has the support of his core voters.
Dozens of Democrats are weighing potential challenges to Trump in 2020. Among those who have already entered the race are Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (Calif.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Warren, Pressley introduce bill to make it a crime for police officers to deny medical care to people in custody Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers MORE (N.Y.).
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