Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the GOP will remain “neutral” during the primary season if former President Donald Trump decides to run again in 2024.
Speaking to the AP, McDaniel did not distance herself from Trump, calling him a “huge, huge presence” in the Republican party. Members of Congress have been split between those who supported objections to the Electoral College certification and those who did not.
“The party has to stay neutral. I’m not telling anybody to run or not to run in 2024,” McDaniel said. “That’s going to be up to those candidates going forward. What I really do want to see him do, though, is help us win back majorities in 2022.”
Several Republicans have started jockeying for position for the 2024 contest. Sens. Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton have longed been viewed as eyeing a possible run along with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. However, McDaniel is far more focused on the 2022 midterms, where she thinks Republicans could take back the House and Senate.
Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and five Senate Republicans voted to move forward with a trial, which could ban him from ever running for office again in the unlikely scenario he is convicted.
McDaniel called for Republican unity and said she disagrees with Republicans attacking one another. While she declined to name anyone, Rep. Matt Gaetz is traveling to Wyoming this week to campaign against Rep. Liz Cheney, the highest ranking House Republican that supported Trump’s impeachment.
“If we’re fighting each other every day and attacking each other and brandishing party purism, we’re not going to accomplish what we need to to win back the House and take back the Senate, and that’s my priority,” McDaniel said.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations are also considered potential 2024 presidential contenders.
McDaniel also denounced the pro-Trump QAnon movement, a large group of conspiracy theorists who believed Trump would have President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrested so he could stay in power.
“I think it’s really important after what’s just happened in our country that we have some self reflection on the violence that’s continuing to erupt in our country,” McDaniel said. “I think QAnon is beyond fringe. I think it’s dangerous.”
With reports of Trump wanting to start his own party, McDaniel downplayed reports of that happening, saying it would only divide Republicans and guarantee Democrat wins up and down the ticket.
“It would be basically a rubber stamp on Democrats getting elected. And I think that’s the last thing that any Republican wants,” she said. “It’s clear that he understands that.”