Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Thursday poured cold water on potential primary challenges to President Donald Trump in 2020, arguing that any opponents will “lose horribly.”
McDaniel’s comments at the Conservative Political Action Conference come as buzz grows about a potential contested Republican primary. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich are reportedly weighing campaigns to take on Trump next year, while former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld has launched an exploratory committee.
“They have the right to jump in and lose. That’s fine,” McDaniel said Thursday at the annual gathering of conservative activists held just outside Washington in Maryland’s National Harbor. “They will lose horribly.”
“The president has a 90 percent approval in our party,” McDaniel said. “What would any Republican be thinking saying, ‘This is a guy I’m going to run against?'”
The national Republican Party has been rallying behind Trump ahead of his 2020 re-election race. At the RNC’s winter meeting last month, committee members voted to give Trump “undivided support” in 2020.
Kasich, a term-limited governor who left office in January, has been considering another White House for months. He came in third in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.
Hogan, a popular two-term governor, has become an outspoken critic of Trump. And he’s taken aim at the RNC for its unequivocal support for the president as a way to discourage a primary challenge.
“Typically they try to be fair arbiters of a process, and I’ve never seen anything like it. And I’ve been involved in the Republican Party for most of my life. It’s unprecedented. And in my opinion, it’s not the way we should be going about our politics,” Hogan told Politico in an interview last week.
McDaniel also criticized the crowded 2020 Democratic field, arguing that the candidates are lurching far to the left and trying to “out-Bernie Bernie” – a reference to progressive stalwart independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
When asked specifically about a potential run by former Vice President Joe Biden, McDaniel said that she encourages him to enter the race.
Biden said earlier this week that he’s inching closer to a run and has approval to do so from his family but isn’t ready to make a definite decision.
“He makes so many gaffes. Great Joe Biden go ahead and run on your record of stagnant wages, jobs leaving the country, manufacturers fleeing the country because of bad trade deals,” McDaniel said. “Joe Biden, please run. Run on your record. We’d love to have that.”