- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 26, 2023

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel says she hopes the days of raucous GOP presidential primaries and questions over party loyalty are over.

Mrs. McDaniel, who won her own contentious election last month for a fourth term as RNC chair, made her case Sunday for Republican White House hopefuls to remain faithful to the party ahead of what is expected to be a crowded primary race.

“This is a symbol of our party. We can’t be attacking each other so much that we lose sight — we have to beat the Democrats, we have to beat Joe Biden in 2024,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We may have divisive primaries and differences of opinions, but in the end we have to settle those to win the big picture.”

Primary candidates will be required to sign a loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee if they want to participate in the party’s debates.

“It’s kind of a no-brainer,” Mrs. McDaniel said. “If you’re going to be on the Republican National Committee debate stage asking voters to support you, you should say, ‘I’m going to support the voters and who they choose as the nominee.’”

She said she expects former President Donald Trump, who has announced his candidacy, to sign the loyalty pledge but sounded the alarm over how further division could lose the GOP more elections. 

“I am Mitt Romney’s niece, and I was appointed to the RNC by Donald Trump. I would support both of them if they were the nominee of our party over Joe Biden, but I don’t know if they would support each other,” Mrs. McDaniel said. “We have to come together as a party. We saw big races lost this cycle because of Republicans refusing to support other Republicans.”

Three people so far have launched campaigns for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination: former President Donald Trump, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. 

Other potential challengers include Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, both of whom also hit the airwaves Sunday but parried questions on whether he would run. 

“I continue to be very humbled when this question is asked to me, and I continue to be very focused on Virginia,” Mr. Youngkin said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “My eyes right now are really on Virginia.”

Mr. Scott said on “Fox News Sunday” that the only decision he had made thus far was to go to church later that morning. 

Mr. Trump has raised the specter of his not supporting the nominee if it isn’t himself, despite signing onto a similar loyalty pledge in 2016. Meanwhile, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol “disqualified” Mr. Trump.

Still, Mrs. McDaniel praised the “deep bench” of candidates Republicans will likely have but cited such intraparty squabbling as incidents she wants to “put to bed early” in an effort to coalesce the party around a nominee to defeat Mr. Biden.  

“As RNC chair, if I said I wouldn’t support the Republican nominee, I would be removed from office,” she said. “Everybody should support the will of the voters. We’re not going to beat Joe Biden if we get in this tit-for-tat.”

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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