If Donald Trump wins the Republican presidential nomination this summer, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is vowing not to give the billionaire’s campaign control over the party leading up to the November election, according to a report in The New York Times.
The Times said Priebus "has also let it be known that he does not plan to let the Trump campaign take over the party apparatus if he captures the nomination.
"At an off-the-record happy hour with reporters last week, Mr. Priebus said clearly that, regardless of precedent, he would not be layered over by Mr. Trump’s loyalists, according to two people present."
If true, Priebus' decision would be a stunning reversal of precedent and a serious slap in the face to the Trump campaign.
In modern presidential campaigns, the presumptive nominee of the party, even before gaining the nomination, takes de facto control over the party and its apparatus.
The candidate and the campaign takes the helm of the national campaign effort, with the party and RNC chair taking direction from them.
The Times report by Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin details Trump's Thursday meeting with Priebus and other party staff in Washington, D.C., which Trump described as "a very good meeting . . . It's really a unity meeting."
The Times report painted a more nuanced picture, with Priebus and top aides complaining about Trump's combative approach to the party, its officials, and other candidates.
The paper also cited three people who were briefed on the meeting, and claims Priebus told Trump both sides need to have a better relationship moving forward. Trump has criticized the party for months, and this week he backed out on his promise
not to run as an independent candidate should he lose the nomination.
The paper quoted Trump as admitting his own staff had failed to do the proper follow-up with delegates.
". . . Mr. Trump turned to his aides and suggested that they had not been doing what they needed to do," the Times said.
The meeting reportedly included Trump, his son Donald J. Trump Jr., Trump's lawyer Donald F. McGahn, his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, his national political director Michael Glassner, and his spokeswoman Hope Hicks. From the RNC, Priebus was joined by COO Sean Cairncross and chief of staff Katie Walsh.
Also discussed was the situation in Louisiana
, a state whose primary Trump won. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will likely earn more delegates from the state because his campaign found ways to work within the state's delegate system.
Regarding Louisiana and other states with finicky rules regarding delegates, The Times reports that Priebus told Trump every campaign in the race should be ready to fight for votes at this summer's convention in Cleveland.
Lewandowski and Glassner, however, told The Times Friday Trump did not scold his team as first reported.
Trump's rise to the top of the polls has been polarizing, but he has a strong base of supporters and he is hoping to secure the 1,237 delegate votes needed to clinch the nomination before the convention. If he falls short, Cruz could have a chance
at getting the nod on the first ballot.
If neither candidate wins the magic 1,237 votes on the first ballot, delegates are officially unbound, allowing for the convention delegates to nominate a candidate of their own choosing.
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