© Getty Images
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus on Friday called for Republicans to unite ahead of the presidential election, striking back against the Never Trump movement.
“It is essential to victory in November that we all support our candidate,” Priebus said at the RNC’s spring meeting in Hollywood, Fla.
“This goes for everyone, whether you’re a county party chairman, an RNC member, or a presidential candidate. Politics is a team sport, and we can’t win unless we rally around whoever becomes our nominee,” he added, drawing applause from the audience.
“They’re trying out for our team. No one is forcing them to wear our jersey. We expect our candidates to support our party and our eventual nominee.”
The comments seemed pointed at the growing movement of conservatives who insist they won’t back Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE if he’s the GOP nominee.
Priebus also promised that the nominating process at July's Republican National Convention in Cleveland would be “fair, democratic and transparent,” and that the GOP would not give the nomination to anyone who does not secure a majority of delegates.
“As our nomination process goes on, we are preparing for all possible scenarios. We might have a nominee by July. Or we might have a nominee through the balloting process at the convention,” he said.
“The rules say you have to have 1,237 delegates to be the nominee. We aren’t going to hand the nomination to anyone with a plurality, no matter how close they are to 1,237. You need a majority. Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”
The comments were an apparent shot at Trump, who has decried the delegate system as “rigged” against him by establishment forces.
Trump leads the GOP field in delegates, but he may fall short of the 1,237 required to clinch the nomination before the convention. The front-runner has said that he should be the nominee even if he only receives a plurality of delegates.