RNC Chair Says 2024 GOP Candidates Must Sign Pledge to Participate in Debates

Any Republican who wants to run for president in 2024 will have to sign a loyalty pledge if they want to join the 2024 debates, the Republican National Committee (RNC) ’s chairperson said. 

The pledge would require candidates to support the eventual GOP presidential nominee.

Ronna McDaniel, the RNC’s leader since 2017, said that even though the debate criteria have not yet been released, the loyalty pledge should nevertheless be a “no-brainer” for the party’s presidential hopefuls.

“We haven’t put the criteria out, but I expect a pledge will be part of it. It was part of 2016. I think it’s kind of a no-brainer, right? If you’re going to be on the Republican National Committee debate stage asking voters to support you, you should say, ‘I’m going to support the voters and who they choose as the nominee,’” McDaniel said on CNN’s State of the Union. 

It marked McDaniel’s first interview since winning a contentious race for a fourth term as RNC chairwoman.

Asked if there would be other requirements for candidates to get onto the debate stage, McDaniel said there should be a threshold to make sure people on the debate stage are doing it to run for office, not doing it for publicity or other positions. 

Experts say the pledge is most likely aimed at former president Donald Trump. 

During the interview, the CNN show host Dana Bash played a recent Trump interview clip in which he indicated to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he was unsure whether he would support the eventual GOP nominee if it wasn’t him.

“It would have to depend on who the nominee was,” said Trump, who announced himself as a 2024 candidate in the fall.

Responding to that clip, McDaniel said, “I think they’re all going to sign” the loyalty pledge.

A Trump campaign spokesperson told CNN later in response to the pledge expectation that “President Trump will support the Republican nominee because it will be him.”

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