Concerns about perceived bias in the presidential nominating process hung over top Republicans as they debated potential rules changes today at their Spring Committee Meeting in Florida -- and opted to leave everything as is until the GOP convention in Cleveland this July.
This means that all power to change any rules at a potentially contested convention would be in the hands of the delegates, particularly those on the convention’s rules committee.
Donald Trump has bashed the GOP’s delegate process in recent days, calling the system “rigged” and “unfair.” Some of the committee members were clearly taking notice.
“This is a very hotly contested election and any changes that we make will be largely viewed with a large degree of cynicism,” said Randy Evans from Georgia, a member of the RNC’s standing rules panel, calling a move now “extremely dangerous.”
The majority of the meeting was about changing the convention’s use of U.S. House rules, which the committee decided overwhelmingly not to replace with Robert’s Rules of Order. The amendment was proposed by Solomon Yue, of Oregon, who claimed that changing the rules would make it more difficult for a non-candidate, such as like a House Speaker Paul Ryan, to secure the nomination if the convention were contested.
“We can’t afford to have a nominee who didn’t run,” he told RNC members today.
But most committee members argued against it. Georgia’s Randy Evans said the RNC is too far along in the primary process to change the rules.
“We’re basically in the seventh inning of the ballgame, and I don’t think it’s right to change the rules,” he said.
Enid Mickleson, of Utah, withdrew her proposed rules change, citing the same concerns. “In the supercharged political environment in which we find ourselves, this is not the time to be debating rules changes,” she said.
“I wanted to be sure that the members had an opportunity to consider, to debate, to vote. And we’ve done that,” Bruce Ash, the panel’s chairperson, told ABC News. “The process has been served. And we’re now able to live and fight another day.”