- The Washington Times - Friday, April 22, 2016

The head of the Republican National Committee called on the party to consolidate behind the eventual GOP presidential nominee, saying it is necessary to capture control of the White House in the November.

Speaking to RNC members at the party’s spring meeting in Florida, GOP Chair Reince Priebus pushed back against businessman Donald Trump’s allegations that the process is “rigged” as well as the anti-Trump movement that is bent on stopping him.

Mr. Priebus said that the party has made great strides on his watch and is in “prime position to win this election.”

“But they will mean very little unless we unite around whoever our nominee will be,” Mr. Priebus said. “It is essential to victory in November that we all support our candidate.

“This goes for everyone, whether you’re a county party chairman, an RNC member, or a presidential candidate,” he said. “Politics is a team sport and we can’t win unless we rally around whoever becomes our nominee. I want to prove the doubters wrong and show that Republicans are going to stand side by side with one another stronger than ever before.”

The remarks came amid continued infighting with the Republican ranks.

Mr. Trump, the GOP front-runner, has spent the last couple weeks railing against the nomination process, firing up his supporters with the charge that the process has been “rigged.”

Mr. Trump is the last of the remaining candidates that can win the 1,237 needed to win the nomination before the convention in Cleveland.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the “#NeverTrump” movement, meanwhile, is pushing to stop him from reaching that threshold in hopes of forcing a contested convention in Cleveland and steering the nomination away from the New York billionaire.

Indeed, the anti-Trump Our Principles PAC blasted out a memo to RNC members Friday that challenged Mr. Trump’s credentials as both a conservative and Republican and warned against him being the nominee.

“It is not too late,” said Katie Packer, chairman of the PAC. “As Republican leaders, it is critical that you do everything in your power to prevent Donald Trump from being our party’s standard-bearer.”

Mr. Trump and his rivals also have backed away from their previous pledges to support the eventual nominee, whoever it may be — creating headaches for Mr. Priebus.

Mr. Priebus opened his address by playing a video that aimed to educate people on the nomination and convention process and “push back against the misconceptions floating around out there.”

“The rules for how we choose a nominee have been transparent and effective for decades and this year is no different,” he said.

Mr. Preibus also said the candidates have a responsibility to help unify the party and said “no one is forcing them to wear our jersey. “

“We expect our candidates to support our Party and our eventual nominee,” he said. Now I know our candidates are going to say some things to attract attention. That’s part of politics. But we all need to get behind the nominee. Unity makes the impossible … possible. Division makes the possible … impossible.”

Mr. Priebus also shot down Mr. Trump’s argument that he should be given the nomination if he is close to the magic number of delegates needed to seal the deal on the first ballot.

“The rules say you have to have 1,237 delegates to be the nominee,” he said. “We aren’t going to hand the nomination to anyone with a plurality, no matter how close they are to 1,237. You need a majority. Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”


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