The Republican National Committee could address some controversial subjects during its annual meeting over the next three days in Salt Lake City.
Among the items the RNC is expected to entertain in a closed-door session are a resolution to expel Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from the House Republican conference and a rule to require GOP candidates to pledge to not participate in debates run by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
RNC members may pick up a debate over whether to retain Iowa and New Hampshire as the first two states to vote, or change the order, as Democrats are considering, according to The Associated Press.
In addition, the committee will discuss where to hold the 2024 Republican National Convention, for which Salt Lake City is a finalist, along with Milwaukee; Nashville, Tennessee; and Pittsburgh. A decision isn’t expected for a few more months.
Former national security adviser Robert O’Brien is scheduled to give the keynote speech Thursday. He is expected to address U.S. national security, while tensions build at the Ukraine-Russia border and pressure mounts on China as the 2022 Winter Olympics open. He is expected to focus on the need to restore a “peace through strength” posture.
O’Brien, who attended Brigham Young University, is also expected to lend his support to Salt Lake City hosting the 2024 national GOP convention, sources said.
The RNC develops and promotes the Republican political platform as well as coordinates fundraising and election strategy. Members include the national leadership and GOP chairpersons and committee members from each of the states. Ronna McDaniel is the national chairwoman.
Utah Republican Party Chairman Carson Jorgensen and the state party’s national committee members Bruce Hough and Anne-Marie Lampropoulos are attending the meeting.
Jorgensen called Salt Lake City a “great central hub” for the RNC gathering with “great conservative leadership.”
The Democratic National Committee put out a statement Wednesday bashing the RNC meeting.
“This week promises to be a wide open window into exactly how much Donald Trump has completely solidified his stranglehold on the Republican Party — and how it has nothing else to offer to the American people,” said Ammar Moussa, the DNC’s rapid relevance director.
McDaniel is going to have to explain why the RNC spent donors’ money on Trump’s personal legal fees and whether it is going to help him settle personal scores, he said.
“And without any agenda or vision, they’ll have little else to talk about,” Moussa said.
The Washington Post reported that David Bossie, a two-time Donald Trump campaign adviser who serves as a national committeeman from Maryland, submitted a resolution for the RNC to endorse the ouster of Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., from the House Republican conference.
Frank Eathorne, Wyoming Republican Party chairman and a Trump ally, is a co-sponsor of the resolution. The Wyoming GOP narrowly voted last November to no longer recognize Cheney as a Republican for voting to impeach Trump for his role in the U.S. Capitol riot. Cheney was removed from House Republican leadership.
Kinzinger, who has said he’s not running for reelection, has also been critical of Trump.
McDaniel has not taken a position on the resolution, according to the Post.
Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who is McDaniel’s uncle, is scheduled to attend a fundraiser for Cheney in March. Cheney faces a tough reelection campaign against a Trump-endorsed candidate.
The New York Times reported that the RNC is preparing to change its rules to require presidential candidates seeking the party’s nomination to sign a pledge to not participate in any debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Republican committee officials alerted the debate commission to their plans in a letter sent on Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by the Times. If the change goes forward, it would be one of the most substantial shifts in how presidential and vice presidential debates have been conducted since the commission began organizing debates more than 30 years ago.
Republicans have long complained about how the commission handles debates, going back to the 2012 campaign when Romney was the GOP nominee against President Barack Obama, according to the Times. The moderator of the town hall-style debate fact-checked Romney in real time about a claim he made about Obama, prompting an outcry from conservatives.
Romney, though, told the Huffington Post last month that it would be “nuts” to withdraw from the commission debates.
“The American people want to hear from the nominees of the two respective parties. It’s a good chance to understand their views and to see them in a high-pressure situation. It’s a great service to the public,” he said
Also on the RNC agenda during the winter meeting that ends Friday is where to hold the 2024 Republican National Convention.
Visit Salt Lake is organizing the bid and made a presentation in Washington, D.C., to the RNC last year.
Jorgensen told The Associated Press that he hopes the RNC winter meeting showcases Salt Lake City as an ideal location for the convention.
“We are a really good choice for it, for the sheer fact that we’ve been under Republican conservative governance for a long time now,” Jorgensen said, noting Utah’s growing economy and low unemployment rate. “These things don’t happen by accident. I think the RNC is really starting to take note of that, even as states around us are really turning blue.”
The 2024 presidential nominating convention could be an explosive one if Trump decides to run again. The eyes of the country and the world would most certainly be focused on the state for that time.