Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said “there’s no room for threatening the delegates or the convention or anybody that would be going to our national convention,” but he passed off much of that talk as “rhetoric and hyperbole.”
Priebus told NBC on Sunday that, as Donald Trump calls the delegate-selection process rigged, “I don’t know what the motivation is.”
“There’s really nothing that’s rigged or being changed or altered. These are the same rules that were in place basically for over a century,” he said. “But, at the very least, there’s no way around the fact that all of these states submitted their delegate allocation plans by October 1st of 2015. And not a single thing has changed about it.”
“These conventions that people talk about, number one, it’s not common but a few states out West use a convention system, where delegates start competing at the county level a month ago and they go through the county, the precinct, the congressional district and a state convention. And the candidates participate the whole way through. And no one was complaining except for when it was all over,” Priebus continued.
“And, look, every state is different. And to — you can reform the system. I mean, look, we’ve all — we — this has been an ongoing debate.”
The chairman stressed that “the RNC doesn’t write any rules.”
“The RNC has basically an administrative role at the convention. It’s by majority rule the delegates can run the convention. So it’s on them to decide what they want to do about a lot of these issues, not us,” he said.
“…The voters empower the delegates. But ultimately the delegates, who, in most cases are bound by the outcome of caucuses and primaries and conventions, make the decisions at the convention.”
Priebus added that if Trump “was winning the majority of votes, he’d likely have the majority of delegates — but that’s not actually what’s happening.”
“He’s winning in plurality of votes. And he has a plurality of delegates. And under the rules, and under the concept of this country, a majority rules on everything. A majority rules on the electoral college. Majority rules at the DNC, the RNC and I don’t know too many places where a majority doesn’t rule,” he said.
Asked if he’ll let Trump bully him and “cave to his demands,” the chairman replied that “the rules are set.”
“I’ve been pretty clear,” Priebus added. “I think I’ve done more TV in the last two weeks than I have in two years and it’s because I’m not going to allow anyone to rewrite the rules of our party.”
Trump’s recent warning to the RNC: “You better straighten out the system, because the people want their vote. The people want to vote. And they want to be represented properly.”
Priebus responded on CNN that “it’s not a matter of party insiders — it’s a matter of 2,400-plus grass-roots activists, and whatever they want to do, they can do. And that’s where the power lies.”
He told CBS: “If they want to have 100 percent of everything they want to have happen, they have to be 100 percent committed to each of these states and how they select delegates.”
“We are going to have plenty of security, plenty of protection for all the delegates,” added Priebus. “We will be prepared. It will be a great convention. It will be an historic convention.”