'Reports of the Death of the Republican Party Were Greatly Exaggerated'

In a secret conference call to Republican National Committee (RNC) members, outgoing Chairman Reince Priebus told Republican insiders to be patient about the RNC chairman's race and announced that "details will follow."

Morton C. Blackwell, president of the Leadership Institute and Republican national committeeman from Virginia, told PJ Media about the call in an interview on Monday. He stressed that President-elect Donald Trump will name a candidate for RNC chairman, and that person will likely be elected unanimously. He expressed a sense of deep optimism about the forthcoming administration, and praise for the people Trump has elevated to key positions.

"I don't Twitter very often," Blackwell said, but he did send out a tweet on Election Night: "The reports of the death of the Republican Party were greatly exaggerated."

While many conservatives have long harbored doubts about a Trump presidency, Blackwell was very optimistic. "I'm very happy with Mike Pence being chosen to lead the transition," he said. "Mike Pence is a full-spectrum conservative in the likeness of Ronald Reagan on any issue that I know about. His designation as the vice presidential nominee by Trump was extremely welcome to me and to grassroots conservatives all across America."

Blackwell praised Pence as "a very accomplished person," adding that "not only is he completely committed to conservative principles, he is personally effective and he is personable."

Blackwell recalled how Pence rose among the ranks of the D.C. leadership of the Republican Party. "I've known him since 1988 when he made his first and unsuccessful race for Congress," he recalled.

In January 2011, Blackwell and other conservatives, including the Media Research Council's Brent Bozell and former Congressman Dick Armey, urged Pence to run for president in 2012. "We obviously didn't have the influence that we would have hoped, but that's an indication of the high regard that conservatives had for him."

As for the upcoming administration, Blackwell argued, "I think [Pence's leadership role] will make Trump a much more effective and successful president, because Mike has experience and knows how to act on principle but prudently."

Next Page: The importance of hiring the right people, and why 2016 was a victory for women.