As the Republican National Committee (RNC) closed its summer meeting in Nashville last week, most of the 138 committee members and state chairmen have expressed their support for Donald Trump with warmth and even passion.
However, as Newsmax showed, those emotions do not always equate to a call for the 45th president to run for president again in 2024.
“The ideal nominee for me is a Trump without the tweets,” one RNC member who requested anonymity told Newsmax, “If we could have a candidate who maintained Trump’s agenda but had a warmer style, we’d win.”
The name of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close ally of the former president, was the first to come to the RNC’s mind as a viable alternative to Trump as a presidential candidate.
“I’m going to stick with Trump for a while,” Oklahoma Republican National Committeewoman and former State GOP Chairman Pam Pollard told Newsmax, “I need to see if he’s electable. Right now, 90% of the Republicans back in Oklahoma are saying ‘Trump is our only option.’”
Should Trump not become a candidate in ’24, Pollard said, “Gov. DeSantis would be my first choice. He’s a proven conservative and will stand up to the federal government and the media. He’s brilliant.”
Pollard’s sentiment was strongly mirrored by Arizona’s new National Committeewoman Lori Klein Corbin.
“If Trump runs, he’ll clean out the field and wrap up the nomination,” said Corbin, “But without Trump in the race, everyone loves Ron DeSantis.
“Trump is popular in Georgia and DeSantis is popular in Georgia,” Georgia National Committeeman Jason Thompson told Newsmax without hesitation.
Kansas State Chairman Mike Kuckelman predicted that “a lot of good folks could get into the ’24 race [for the Republican presidential nomination]—like Gov. Ron DeSantis or my good friend Mike Pompeo [Trump’s] secretary of state and a former Kansas congressman]. It’s a very promising field.”
“Before we talk about the 2024 field, let’s see what Donald Trump does,” Kuckelman quickly added.
Tennessee National Committeeman Oscar Brock, one of the RNC members Newsmax spoke with, made it plain that he is looking for “new faces” in the party for ’24.
“I really like [South Carolina’s Sen.] Tim Scott and am anxious to learn more about him,” said Brock, son of the late Tennessee Sen. and Republican National Chairman Bill Brock.
Long regarded as a shelter for “establishment” Republicans, the RNC has quickly evolved into a home for Trump loyalists.
Wait and see what Trump does, and if he doesn’t run, who is most like him save in style, was the dominant view at the Nashville party conclave.