Election 2020

RNC Chairman: Trump Could Win First Convention Ballot, Like Walter Mondale

Former Vice President Walter Mondale speaks at George Washington University on Oct. 20 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the possibility shouldn’t be ruled out that Donald Trump comes up short on delegates but woos enough to his side for the first ballot at the convention — just like Walter Mondale.

Pressed by Sean Hannity about whether there would be “outright anger and frustration and a sense of betrayal” among Trump supporters if he went into the convention with a wide lead but didn’t win the nomination, Priebus acknowledged, “Well, sure.”

“There’s always — everyone’s charged up. Of course there’s going to be frustration. Someone has to get — someone has to get the majority. I have never disagreed with your premise that this is not a huge challenge, OK,” he said. “But, you know, Ford went into the convention about 30 delegates short and he won on ballot number one and it was over. Walter Mondale in 1984 went into the convention 40 delegates short and he won on the first ballot. So it’s not like the things don’t happen.”

If Trump can pick up “enough unbound delegates to commit to him then on the first vote he would get 1,237 and he would be the nominee,” Priebus stressed.

“If he doesn’t, then he would be short, and then you go to ballot number two under the rules. You would call the roll again, and you would keep calling the roll until somebody gets to the majority of delegates. That’s what would happen.”

The chairman also tried to squash talk of bringing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in as an emergency nominee.

“Let me just say it again for the 10th time — number one, he’s not running. Number two, he doesn’t want to. Number three, he doesn’t like this talk and wants it to end. But number four, he is not going to have a floor operation to do any of these things. It’s ridiculous,” Priebus said. “…I think it’s going to be one of the three people running is going to be the nominee.”

Pressed on how John Kasich would seal the deal, Priebus said “you’re going to have to ask John Kasich.”

“But I’m not going to do something that’s going to be an affront right now to John Kasich. He’s a good governor of Ohio and he’s running and it’s up to him,” he added. “I believe it’s going to be one of the three.”