RNC won't take further steps to protect Trump from primary challenge

The Republican Party is backing away from further changing its rules to prevent a 2020 primary challenge to President Trump, content that existing bylaws and the president's overwhelming grassroots support are sufficient to stiff-arm any GOP opponents that might emerge.

Nevertheless, the party’s governing body, the Republican National Committee, could issue a resolution reaffirming support for Trump’s renomination when it convenes later this month for an annual winter business meeting. And it might rebuke Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, whose scathing condemnation of the president in a New Year’s Day op-ed triggered a fresh internal debate about how the GOP nomination is administered.

Even a long-shot primary challenger could be a nuisance, gaming party rules to disrupt plans for a carefully choreographed nominating convention in Charlotte in August of next year. Some grassroots Trump supporters are worried and demanding action. But neither the RNC, which would have to take extraordinary measures to change its rules, nor the Trump campaign, which hasn’t publicly complained, appears too concerned.

“I think you have to let it go at this point,” said a Republican insider who speaks with Trump about political matters. As with most the Washington Examiner interviewed for this story, this individual requested anonymity in order to speak candidly. The Trump campaign declined to comment for this story, as did the RNC.

Additional meddling could undercut Trump, a populist who has campaigned as an anti-establishment politician who opposes “rigging” the system. But some GOP insiders are suspicious of the 168 elected members of the RNC, convinced most don’t have Trump’s best interests at heart. They would like to see the nominating rules strengthened to benefit the incumbent and increase the path for primary challengers.
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