NATIONAL HARBOR, MD — Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus rebuked Mitt Romney’s recent comments attempting to rally a third party presidential candidate to block Donald Trump from securing the Republican presidential nomination during a speech on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“Let me just clear something up for everybody,” Priebus said. “Whoever the nominee is for our party, they will get the full backing and 100 percent support from the Republican party. We don’t take sides. I think the odds of a contested convention are very small.”
Priebus discussed the state of the Republican party, specifically the presidential race, during a public Q&A session with Sean Hannity. At one point, Hannity addressed the crowd asking them if they had seen Romney’s speech. The crowed responded with booes.
“I voted for Mitt Romney in 2008,” Hannity said, “and I have to say I am not happy with the speech he gave yesterday.”
CPAC attendee Michelle Strinden said while she personally doesn’t hope Trump wins the presidential nomination, Romney’s push for a brokered convention would harm the Republican Party more than it would help.
“I agree with Priebus,” Striden said. “I’m a Cruz supporter, and I’m not a Trump fan. But, I don’t think we need to manipulate the system with a brokered convention.”
Priebus said while the significant response to GOP drama comes off as disunity, it is also an indicator of energy within the Republican Party.
“There is some drama; we know that; there is intrigue, but with all of that comes a huge level of enthusiasm,” Priebus said. “We are seeing a historic turnout across this country like we’ve never seen before. We had 17 million people watching the Fox News debate last night. It’s amazing.”
In addition to discussing the current presidential election, Priebus said the RNC is financially stronger than the Democratic National Committee and its efforts to secure the presidency.
“We are twice as big as the DNC,” Priebus said. “If you compare RNC vs. DNC fundraising, they aren’t even close. But they aren’t our competition — our competition is Hillary Clinton and her machine.”
Priebus concluded his comments saying the focus of the RNC will be in giving full support to the next nominee. He said they will “save the Supreme Court for the next generation.”
CPAC attendee John Hubbard said, overall, he was excited by the RNC’s efforts to unite the party and fight off Clinton’s run for the presidency. He said he believes Romney’s idea of a third party candidate would harm its mission.
“They’re doing a lot,” Hubbard said. “Nobody should want to vote for the Democrats. Anyone who willingly chooses to vote for another candidate by creating a brokered Republican National Convention will be making a big mistake.”