WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign detailed on Monday efforts to change Republican Party rules across the country to reduce the potential for opposition to the president at the 2020 nominating convention.
Three Trump campaign senior officials told reporters on a call on Monday they have worked with state parties to make it harder for Republican primary opponents to influence the selection of the delegates to the convention
Trump, who enjoys strong popularity in public opinion polls within his own party, is facing three primary opponents, all of whom have struggled to gain traction.
The Republican Party will hold its official nominating convention in Charlotte in August 2020. Convention delegates - who officially select the nominee - are chosen by states and in modern times reflect the primary vote taken in each state.
While a small convention rebellion would be unlikely to dislodge Trump as the Republican nominee, the optics could be damaging for Trump, who likes to tout his broad support within his party.
“The rules of the party now reflect adequately that the will of the voters in the president’s party. This is not being done from a position of weakness,” one of the senior campaign officials said. The campaign officials could not be named as part of an agreement to listen to the call.
In some states, the primary vote has been canceled entirely and party officials will select pro-Trump delegates. In other states, new rules backed by Trump’s campaign will make it harder for primary opponents who garner a small percentage of the vote to influence delegate selection.
The campaign appears to be working to ensure there is not a repeat of the 2016 convention, where Trump was nominated in Cleveland. His campaign put minimal effort into influencing delegate selection and at times, opposition to his victory in the Republican primary was vocalized by delegates on the convention floor.
We “care about who is seated in all the chairs on the convention floor in Charlotte next year. We care about that because we care about ensuring a predetermined outcome in Charlotte.”
The announcement comes as Trump faces intense criticism and scrutiny for a July phone call in which he asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his family. House Democrats have opened an impeachment inquiry into the president’s actions after learning about the call from a whistleblower.
Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman