Any effort to enlist National Review writer and Iraq war veteran David French as an independent to run against GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump is a "suicide mission," Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus said Thursday.
In an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show
, Priebus conceded "I don't really know" French, whom Weekly Standard founder and editor William Kristol
has suggested would be a viable candidate should he mount an independent bid.
French has not said whether he would do so.
"Look, I don't want to say anything disparaging against the guy because I don't know him and I'm sure he's a good person, but I think it's also just this sort of suicide mission, and a huge distraction," Priebus said in remarks posted by Politico.
"I don't see it going anywhere."
"I think in order to be a viable third party candidate I think you have to have national name ID and a ton of cash in order to get even a blip on the radar. So I don't really even think about it, Hugh. I think it's sort of silly, to tell you the truth. I have to say — I think the people involved with it are embarrassing themselves," he added, according to a partial transcript posted by Breitbart News.
Priebus also declared it's "even easier" for the RNC to unite behind Trump than it was to build unity around 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
"I would say, first of all, extremely close," Priebus said of the recent relationship between the RNC and Trump campaign.
"You know, I thought that the coming together of Romney and the RNC four years ago was pretty good — but I have to say, and it's not just to say it here to make some kind of nice situation, but I think it's even easier and better now than it was four years ago."
"In other words, I don't think it could be going any smoother."
Priebus added that the Trump Leadership Victory team includes several high-profile backers of former rivals and senior party insiders deeply involved in the infrastructure of the Republican Party.
"That's important," he said. "People want to see that, I'm sure, the coalescing to get the job done."
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