Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus believes there is likely no late-arrival GOP savior to rescue the party from current presidential candidate front-runner Donald Trump.
On March 20, Priebus asserted that the time had passed for an independent presidential candidate to run the genuine conservative banner as the GOP leadership has come to realize it may not be able to halt the rise of Trump, The Huffington Post reports
“It’s far too late,” Priebus told ABC News host George Stephanopoulos. “Some folks find it to be interesting and that’s great … but it isn’t likely and it’s probably too late and there is no definitive answer right now as to who the nominee is going to be of our party.”
Priebus’ insistence that there is no serious effort from conservatives to find a challenger to Trump arrived shortly after chatter that Republican pundit William Kristol was orchestrating a plan to do just that.
Kristol and a number of unnamed conservative leaders have outlined a plan to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination. Their plan b, if Trump proves unstoppable, is to put forth a conservative third-party candidate in the general election, The New York Times reports.
“I think the ballot access question is manageable,” Kristol said. “The big question is, who’s the candidate?”
Names that have been bandied about include former Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas.
Priebus has waved off the possibility of challenging a Trump nomination with an independent conservative in the general election, adding “I can’t imagine… it would be anyone but the three remaining candidates.”
According the RNC chairman, the GOP nominee will either be Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas or Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. There will be no surprises.
Trump himself said that Republicans who want to nominate a third-party candidate “might as well just hand the election to [Democratic presidential candidate] Hillary Clinton or whoever runs, because frankly, the Republicans wouldn’t even have 1 percent of a chance of winning if that’s the case.”
Trump added that it would be “stupid … if they’re going to do that instead of embracing these millions of people that are coming in to vote, then they’re going to have to do that.”
RNC spokesman Sean Spicer had made it clear that the committee will not tolerate further rumors of a third-party candidate.
“Any efforts to facilitate a third party ultimately is helping to elect Hillary Clinton,” Spicer told Breitbart. “The Republican Party must be united to take back the White House."