Relations between front runner Donald Trump and the institutional Republican Party have been fraught since the real estate mogul launched his candidacy last summer. And nothing better exemplifies those challenges than the relationship between Trump and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
After controversial contests in Colorado and Wyoming that saw Ted Cruz walk away with all of both state’s delegates many voters complained that the state GOP used an arcane set of rules to shut them out. Donald Trump echoed their complaints in interviews and, of course, on Twitter.
Trump’s comments capped a week of feuding between him and the RNC as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has outmaneuvered him in the chase for the convention delegates who will decide the nomination. Trump argued that the delegate selection process is “rigged,” prompting the RNC to proclaim in a memo that the rules of the system have been clear.
Trump May Replace Priebus
Turning from the Colorado and Wyoming controversies, Trump continued the cold war, speculating aloud in an interview with the Washington Post that he might replace Reince Preibus as Chairman of the RNC if he becomes the nominee. Publicly tweaking Priebus got the expected reaction. Cruz and Kasich surrogates rushed to respond thereby ensuring that Trump’s narrative would get traction in the media. The Washington Post explains:
Trump left open the possibility that he would seek to install his own allies at the RNC should he accrue the 1,237 delegates required to win the nomination by the time primary voting ends in June. Asked in the interview whether he would retain RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in that scenario, Trump replied: “I don’t know. I haven’t made the determination.”
Trump also suggested that he should have some say over the convention’s production. Trump criticized the GOP’s 2012 Tampa convention as “the single most boring convention I’ve ever seen.” Now that he’s the front runner he says, “It’s very important to put some showbiz into a convention, otherwise people are going to fall asleep. We don’t have the people who know how to put showbiz into a convention.” In that, he may be right. Democrats have relied on Hollywood know-how to stage their conventions while Republican conventions have been more staid affairs. In this media savvy age, some showmanship can only help.