Former Trump official wins tight Texas GOP primary runoff

A former Trump campaign official has won a tight primary fight and will now serve as the representative of a deep-red Texas House district.

Republican Katrina Pierson, who served as the spokesperson for former President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, defeated incumbent state Rep. Justin Holland in Tuesday's primary runoff for Texas' 33rd House District, and is the presumptive winner of November's general election since no Democrat candidate is standing in the race.

Pierson had the backing of Republican Texas Gov. Gregg Abott, who sought to oust incumbent Republicans opposed to some of his policy objectives.


Holland, who was first elected in 2016, opposed key legislation supported by Abbott that would have paved the way for Texas parents to send their children to private or religious affiliated schools using public funding. A group of 21 Republicans, including Holland, joined all Democrats in opposing the measure last year.

Holland has also faced scrutiny for a number of other positions he's taken, including supporting legislation last year that would have raised the age to purchase "assault" style rifles from 18 to 21, and voting in favor of impeaching Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Pierson gained Paxton's backing ahead of the March primary, while Abbott endorsed her ahead of the runoff.

Republicans currently hold 86 of the 150 seats in the Texas state House, a majority of 11.

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Opposed by top Texas Republicans and Trump, state House speaker survives GOP primary runoff challenge

The Associated Press projects that Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan will survive a Republican primary runoff election challenge by David Covey.

Phelan's victory in a state House district east of Houston is seen as a political setback for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and former President Donald Trump, as well as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Phelan oversaw the effort last year to impeach Paxton over corruption charges. Paxton was acquitted by the state Senate after the House overwhelmingly impeached the controversial attorney general. 


In response, Paxton targeted over 30 GOP incumbent state representatives, with Phelan at the top of the list. Paxton's most powerful ally, Trump, endorsed Covey.

Meanwhile, Abbott was looking for payback over the downing in the state House last year of his education plan that would have opened the spigot for taxpayer funding of private schools. The school voucher measure, which was Abbott's top legislative item last year, passed the state Senate, but its downing in the state House was a rare political setback for the three-term governor.


Nine GOP state House lawmakers went down to defeat in the state's March primary, with eight more forced into runoffs. All were targeted by either Abbott or Paxton, or by both the governor and the attorney general.

"It’s a power play and definitely a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party of Texas and Gov. Abbott wants to get legislators in there who will support his agenda," veteran Texas-based Republican strategist Brendan Steinhauser told Fox News last week.

"For Ken Paxton and [Lt. Gov.] Dan Patrick and Donald Trump by proxy, for them, it is definitely trying to take out the person who led the impeachment against Ken Paxton and who stood in the way of Dan Patrick’s agenda in the Senate. All those factors together make a really powerful force for the Speaker to overcome," he emphasized.

The race was also seen as a proxy battle for the future of the GOP in Texas.

Phelan was backed by old guard Republicans and conservative-leaning business leaders who helped bring the GOP to power in Texas in the 1980s and 1990s. Covey enjoyed the support of not only Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Paxton and Trump, but also far-right activists who place more of an emphasis on social and cultural issues.

If Phelan had lost, he would have become the first Texas House speaker to be ousted in a primary in over a half century.

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Texas Republican primary runoffs feature political revenge, Trump as key factors

Two of the most powerful Republicans in Texas are aiming to settle some political scores in Tuesday's GOP primary runoff elections.

And a Republican congressman whose district was the scene of the horrific Uvalde school shooting in 2022 and who's bucked his party on key issues is fighting for his political life against an opponent backed by far-right members of the House.

The showdown grabbing the most headlines is east of Houston, where Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan is facing off against challenger David Covey, who is supported by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and former President Trump.

Phelan oversaw the effort last year to impeach Paxton over corruption charges. Paxton was acquitted by the state Senate after the House overwhelmingly impeached the controversial attorney general.


In response, Paxton has targeted more than 30 GOP incumbent state representatives, with Phelan at the top of the list. And Paxton's most powerful ally, Trump, endorsed Covey.

Three-term Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is looking for payback over the downing in the state House last year of his education plan that would have opened the spigot for taxpayer funding of private schools. The school voucher measure, which was Abbott's top legislative item last year, passed the state Senate, but its defeat in the state House was a rare political setback for Abbott.


Nine GOP state House lawmakers went down to defeat in the state's March primary, with eight more forced into runoffs. All were targeted by either Abbott or Paxton, or by both the governor and the attorney general.

"It’s a power play and definitely a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party of Texas, and Gov. Abbott wants to get legislators in there who will support his agenda," veteran Texas-based Republican strategist Brendan Steinhauser told Fox News.

"For Ken Paxton and [Lt. Gov.] Dan Patrick and Donald Trump by proxy, for them, it is definitely trying to take out the person who led the impeachment against Ken Paxton and who stood in the way of Dan Patrick’s agenda in the Senate. All those factors together make a really powerful force for the speaker to overcome."

Another legislative runoff that may capture some headlines is in suburban Dallas where former Trump campaign adviser and spokesperson Katrina Pierson – with the backing of both Abbot and Paxton – is aiming to unseat state Rep. Justin Holland.

A Republican congressional primary runoff sure to grab national attention is in the southwestern part of the state, where GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales is running for a third two-year term representing a majority Hispanic district that stretches along the U.S.-Mexico border  

With more than 800 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, Texas’s 23rd district has the largest stretch of the border territory of any congressional district. The district is also home to Uvalde, where two years ago 19 children and two adults were murdered in an elementary school shooting.

Gonzales, who has bucked his party on gun safety, immigration and same-sex marriage, is facing off in the runoff against gun rights advocate Brandon Herrera, who's known for his gun-themed YouTube channel titled "The AK Guy."

While Gonzales is backed by Abbot and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Herrera is backed by controversial Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and other far-right House members.

Steinhauser noted that Herrer is branding the showdown as "an establishment-versus-far-right populist race" and that Gonzales "knows that he needs to [protect] his right flank"

But he added that "Tony has a pretty big presence in the conservative eco ecosystem. He’s on Fox News a lot, talking about the border."

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Liz Cheney joins old foe Trump in public slam of Biden’s latest move in Israel: ‘Wrong and dangerous’

Former Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney has found common ground with former President Trump, who she previously voted to impeach, as they both oppose President Biden’s latest move in Israel.

On Wednesday, the anti-Trump Republican said withholding aid from America’s closest ally in the Middle East "wrong and dangerous." The comment came just hours apart from Trump tweeting that Biden was helping the Hamas terror group and "taking the side of these terrorists."

"Withholding aid to Israel is wrong and dangerous. America must not abandon Israel. Doing so would mean victory for Iran and all its terrorist allies," she wrote.

Both Republicans chided Biden after he vowed to withhold weapons from Israel if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes forward with an invasion of Rafah, the last stronghold for Hamas in Gaza.


Cheney’s public criticism of Biden comes amid his re-election rematch with Trump, who has called Biden "weak" and said his foreign policies were "leading the world straight into World War III."

In Trump’s own post, he reminded Biden about Hamas’ terror attack on Israeli border communities on Oct. 7, when 1,200 people were killed, making it the deadliest terror attack in Israel’s history.


"Crooked Joe Biden, whether he knows it or not, just said he will withhold weapons from Israel as they fight to eradicate Hamas Terrorists in Gaza. Hamas murdered thousands of innocent civilians, including babies, and are still holding Americans hostage, if the hostages are still alive," Trump wrote. "Yet Crooked Joe is taking the side of these terrorists, just like he has sided with the Radical Mobs taking over our college campuses, because his donors are funding them."

He added: "Biden is weak, corrupt, and leading the world straight into World War III. Remember - this war in Israel, just like the war in Ukraine, would have NEVER started if I was in the White House. But very soon, we will be back, and once again demanding peace through strength!"


Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was an ally of Trump's at times when he was in office and ascended to chair of the House Republican Conference.

She then vehemently opposed him after Biden defeated Trump in the 2020 election. She further angered Republicans when she joined the Jan. 6 House Select Committee that investigated the events surrounding the 2021 Capitol riot.

Upon the Jan. 6 committee, Cheney recommended and ultimately voted to impeach Trump.

As a result, she was defeated in a landslide in her GOP primary race for Wyoming's at-large congressional seat in 2022.

Why the House delayed sending Mayorkas impeachment articles to the Senate to begin trial

Only in Congress can you be late and early at the same time. 

First, there was criticism that House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., didn’t push sending the articles of impeachment for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas after the House voted to impeach him in February.

The argument was that the Senate wasn’t ready yet. Plus both chambers wanted to make sure they waded through two sets of spending bills to avoid partial government shutdowns. 

Then, a coalition of Senate conservatives began haranguing Johnson to delay sending the articles over to the Senate. This came nearly two weeks after Johnson announced the House would send the articles to the Senate by April 10.

Here’s the statement from Johnson’s office sent on March 8: "On April 10th, the House will send the Senate our duly passed articles of impeachment against Secretary Mayorkas. If he cares about the Constitution and ending the devastation caused by Biden’s border catastrophe, Senator Schumer will quickly schedule a full public trial and hear the arguments put forth by our impeachment managers."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., then announced that the chamber would swear-in senators as jurors on Thursday, April 11. It was intimated that Schumer would then move to dismiss the articles — if he had the votes. Thus, if Schumer teed up a vote to dismiss or table the articles, the Democrats could short-circuit the trial by late Thursday afternoon. There would be no formal presentation of the articles of impeachment by the House "managers" (prosecutors). And the Senate would never advance to an actual up/down vote, rendering judgment for Mayorkas

But as FOX News' Aishah Hasnie scooped on Tuesday, Senate Republicans were demanding that Johnson throw on the brakes — even though the plan was set in stone days ago. 

Fox contacted multiple House impeachment managers as to if they knew what was happening. All three had not heard of a delay. In fact, on one text message, one manager mistakenly responded to yours truly, asking someone in leadership if what Fox was reporting was true.

Even though Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is one of the impeachment managers, she learned of the delay from FOX's reporting.

"The last thing I heard, and I’m an impeachment manager, and those articles of impeachment have my name on them. I have not been told that we may be holding them now. You’re the one that told me that. So apparently you’re getting the news quicker than I am," Greene said Tuesday afternoon.


Aides to Johnson appeared to be trying to get clarity as well. At first, one aide said they had not heard that. Later, the aide told FOX there were conversations. Then FOX was told the aides wouldn’t push back on reporting that they were holding the articles until next week. Then a statement came from Johnson’s office. 

"To ensure the Senate has adequate time to perform its constitutional duty, the House will transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week. There is no reason whatsoever for the Senate to abdicate its responsibility to hold an impeachment trial," said Johnson a spokesman.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also didn’t appear to be dialed-in when asked about a potential delay in initiating the impeachment trial.

You’ll find more whiplash on Capitol Hill than at a chiropractic clinic. But what political purpose does the back and forth serve? Who benefits? The outcome will likely be the same in the end.

And Johnson bowing at a moment’s notice to Senate conservatives who asked for a delay — apparently going over the head of McConnell — demonstrates three things. First, Senate conservatives were late to the table to push this. They knew the start of the trial since late March. This was likely an idea they only engineered in the past few days. Secondly, this reflects McConnell losing ground to conservatives in his conference. That trend has been ongoing for some time now. It’s why McConnell even declared he could read the room politically when he announced over the winter he would step aside as Republican Leader at the end of the Congress. Finally, this episode also underscores concerns some Republicans have about Johnson. They doubt that he’s truly in charge — even if they agree with the ultimate decision. 

"That is a failure of leadership. Real leaders do not lead their members where they’re blind," said Greene. "Any smart person watching this broadcast right now knows that successful have a plan and they’re able to execute it. Leaders have a plan and they lead their members. This is a complete failure of Mike Johnson." 

Thus, Republicans score a few more days to talk about the impeachment of Mayorkas and how the Senate is likely to short circuit the trial. This earns a few more news cycles and some conversations on the Sunday shows — especially if the articles head over on Monday.

Republicans are also able to propound their talking points that Schumer would set "a terrible precedent" by ending the trial quickly and curating the narrative that Democrats "aren’t serious" about border security or are giving a tacit endorsement to Mayorkas. The GOP also thought there might be some attendance problems for the vote to dismiss. By rule, the trial cannot begin until 1 p.m. So if the Senate was going to formally start the trial part of the production on Thursday afternoon, the Senate may have quickly dismissed the articles and senators would have left the Capitol for the weekend. This retooled scenario maximizes focus on the impeachment articles by buying more time.

That said, there is another issue afoot: FISA Section 702 and aid to Ukraine. We’ll start by noting that many arch-conservatives oppose renewing FISA and there are disagreements about reforms. Moreover, some on the right are also opposed to assisting Ukraine.


It’s possible that efforts to renew the foreign surveillance program (known as FISA Section 702) could blow up on the House floor. That would compel the Senate to pivot to a short-term reauthorization of the program. The Senate would then pass the plan along to the House.

But here’s the other issue: There is still no concrete scheme to tackle aid to Ukraine in the House. Floor time is at a premium. Dragging out impeachment takes focus off the House as it struggles to deal with Ukraine. The initial gameplan was for the House to do a Ukraine aid bill next week — one which differs from the Senate passed bill. It’s still unclear if the House can even pass a Ukraine bill. But the Senate will likely accept whatever the House can manage on Ukraine. Therefore, punting the impeachment trial into next week rather than clearing the decks this week puts a squeeze on the Senate. Especially if the House is able to approve a DIFFERENT Ukraine bill. That could make it challenging for the Senate to align with a potential House bill. 

Thus, delaying the impeachment trial until next week serves several goals of conservatives. And stretching it out maintains the spotlight on Mayorkas and the border: a key tenet of the GOP’s political agenda for fall. 

Liberal pundits, urging Biden to withdraw, pushing convention scenario

A growing number of left-leaning pundits are hopping off the Biden train and they’re trying to come up with a plan to enable the president to jump off as well.

The attacks from the right are one thing, but these are Joe Biden’s people, who say he’s been a good president, who say he’s accomplished a great deal, but who say his age renders him either too likely or too certain to lose to Donald Trump. It’s the one problem he can’t fix.

At the same time, a new report says the Resistance is growing frustrated and burned out.

Nate Silver, the data guru and hardly a right-winger, says: "Personally, I crossed the rubicon in November, concluding that Biden should stand down if he wasn’t going to be able to run a normal re-election campaign — meaning, things like conduct a Super Bowl interview. Yes, it's a huge risk and, yes, Biden can still win. But he's losing now and there's no plan to fix the problems."


After noting that an improving economy hasn’t helped him, Silver says "it’s become even clearer that Biden’s age is an enormous problem for him. As many as 86% of Americans say he’s too old in one poll, though numbers in the 70-to-75% range are more common — still an overwhelming majority in a bitterly-divided country." 

And that wasn’t helped by the special counsel’s report calling him an elderly man with a poor memory.

"But even the most optimistic Democrats, if you read between the lines, are really arguing that Democrats could win despite Biden and not because of him. Biden is probably a below-replacement-level candidate at this point because Americans have a lot of extremely rational concerns about the prospect of a Commander-in-Chief who would be 86 years old by the end of his second term. It is entirely reasonable to see this as disqualifying."

Wait, there’s more. 


"I can now point you to moments when he is faltering in his campaign for the presidency because his age is slowing him. This distinction between the job of the presidency and the job of running for the presidency keeps getting muddied, including by Biden himself. And what I think we’re seeing is that he is not up for this. He is not the campaigner he was, even five years ago…The way he moves, the energy in his voice."

Ezra Klein, the uber-liberal New York Times podcaster, also wants the president out. 

"Step one, unfortunately, is convincing Biden that he should not run again. That he does not want to risk being Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a heroic, brilliant public servant who caused the outcome she feared most because she didn’t retire early enough."

Despite what he called the "Kamala Harris problem," Klein says to assume that Biden steps aside. "Then what? Well, then Democrats do something that used to be common in politics but hasn’t been in decades. They pick their nominee at the convention." 

Silver agrees with this scenario as well.

I’m here to tell you, barring a major health scare, that’s not happening. Biden has been running for president since 1987 (I did a long interview with him during that campaign). He finally got the job. He likes being in charge. He’s not going to walk away.

And in fairness, Biden has made adjustments in the last two weeks. He now takes on-camera questions from reporters almost every day, sometimes longer than others. Just yesterday, he walked over to say, in the wake of Alexei Navalny’s murder, he’d be announcing a package of sanctions against Russia on Friday. And he’s given two televised speeches.

Still, liberal Times columnist Michelle Goldberg has been arguing since 2022 that Biden should step aside, and without a major change in strategy, "he should find some medical pretext to step aside in time for a replacement to be chosen at the Democratic convention."

Moderate conservative Ross Douthat says flatly in his Times column that Biden should not be running for re-election.

As if the Times might be in danger of under-covering this issue, the paper also says that "anti-Trump voters are grappling with another powerful sentiment: exhaustion."

"Some folks are burned out on outrage," Rebecca Lee Funk, founder of the liberal activist group Outrage, told the paper. 

A Pittsburgh security guard said  "It’s crisis fatigue, for sure."


How about the right? National Review’s Noah Rothman, who thinks Biden will narrowly win, explains the grand voting shift that has the Democrats in trouble:

"Despite his self-set reputation as a lunch-pail-toting nine-to-fiver with familial roots set deep in the carbon-rich soil of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Joe Biden has presided over the hemorrhaging of his party’s support among non-college-educated voters. The Democratic Party is increasingly dominated by degree-holders…The party is pinning all its electoral hopes on driving up turnout among this relatively affluent, highly educated slice of the electorate. The big problem with that plan is that there just aren’t enough of those voters…

"In 1999, according to Gallup’s historical surveys, working-class Americans identified more as Democrats than as Republicans by 14 points. Today, that has flipped, with the GOP enjoying a 14-point advantage over Democrats among those voters. Democrats have suffered similarly with young voters: Today, only 8% more voters between the ages of 18 and 29 associate themselves with the Democratic Party than with the GOP." 

This is eye-popping for those of us who grew up with the Republicans holding the monopoly on wealthier college graduates and favoring aggressive military intervention abroad.

Rothman concludes: "Even with Trump at the top of the ticket, Democrats appear committed to a strategy that will produce, at best, the narrowest of re-election victories."

On the other side, meanwhile, Nikki Haley gave a South Carolina speech to declare she’s not going anywhere. Plenty of Republicans have "surrendered" to pressure because "they didn’t want to be left out of the club. Of course, many of the same politicians who now publicly embrace Trump privately dread him. They know what a disaster he’s been and will continue to be for our party…I feel no need to kiss the ring. I have no fear of Trump’s retribution. I’m not looking for anything from him, my own political future is of zero concern."

But the most important part of her appearance was when she choked up while discussing her husband (who Trump has taken vague shots at). He is a National Guardsman now serving a year-long deployment in Africa after an earlier one in Afghanistan.

"Michael is at the forefront of my mind," Haley said, her voice breaking. "I wish Michael was here today, and I wish our children and I could see him tonight, but we can’t. He’s serving on the other side of the world."

It was a striking moment because Haley is usually so scripted and disciplined. A burst of emotion in 2008 helped Hillary Clinton win the New Hampshire primary. The problem is that the press will write off Haley if Trump clobbers her in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, no matter how long she keeps campaigning.


A reporter asked Biden yesterday whether he’d rather run against Trump or Haley. He responded, "I don’t care," while walking away.

But given that Haley is 52, I believe he and his advisers very much care. At 77, while projecting a much more vigorous persona, Trump is the one opponent who might help Biden neutralize the issue that most threatens his re-election campaign.

GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher announces retirement from House: ‘Congress is no place to grow old’

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher announced Saturday that he will not seek re-election to his post in the House.

"Eight years ago, when I first ran for Congress, I promised to treat my time in office as a high-intensity deployment. Through my bipartisan work on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, chairing the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, and chairing the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, we’ve accomplished more on this deployment than I could have ever imagined," Gallagher said in a statement.

"But the Framers intended citizens to serve in Congress for a season and then return to their private lives," the congressman continued. "Electoral politics was never supposed to be a career and, trust me, Congress is no place to grow old. And so, with a heavy heart, I have decided not to run for re-election."


Earlier this week, Gallagher was one of just three Republican House members to vote against the impeachment of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, joining with all House Democrats and preventing the measure from going forward.

In his statement, Gallagher, who has represented Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District in the House since 2017, also offered his appreciation for those who supported his career over time.

"Thank you to the good people of Northeast Wisconsin for the honor of a lifetime. Four terms serving you has strengthened my conviction that America is the greatest country in the history of the world. And though my title may change, my mission will always remain the same: deter America’s enemies and defend the Constitution."

In comments provided to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Gallagher said he plans to leave Congress and enter the private sector to spend more time with his family.

"I really just feel like I’ve accomplished much more than I even thought I could when I set out, and I firmly don’t believe that the best use for the next chapter of my career is staying in Congress for another decade," Gallagher told the outlet.


"Even though my title may change, my job may change, my mission is always going to remain the same," he added. "My mission is to prevent World War III. I’ve dedicated myself to restoring conventional deterrence in order to prevent a war with China, and so whatever I do next will be an extension of that mission."

The announcement from Gallagher, who served as a United States Marine Corps intelligence officer, comes after a handful of other Republicans recently announced their intentions to retire from Congress.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., announced Thursday that she will not be seeking re-election to the House this year, saying in a post to social media that "the time has come to serve the people of Eastern Washington in new ways."

Gallagher's current term expires on Jan. 3, 2025.

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announces Republican run for Senate

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday he is running for the U.S. Senate.

"I am running for the United States Senate -- not to serve one party -- but to stand up to both parties, fight for Maryland, and fix our nation's broken politics," the Republican said in a post on X. "It’s what I did as Maryland’s governor, and it’s exactly how I'll serve Maryland in the Senate. Let’s get back to work."

Hogan will be running for the seat opened up by the retiring Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat, who has held the position since 2007. The state hasn't elected a Republican senator in decades and Hogan will face off against Democrats such as Rep. David Trone and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

"Fifty years ago, my father, Maryland Congressman Larry Hogan Sr. made a very tough decision. He became the first Republican to come out for the impeachment of President Nixon. He put aside party politics and his own personal considerations and he stepped up to do the right thing for Maryland and the nation," Hogan said in a video released Friday. "Today, Washington is completely broken because that kind of leadership, that kind of willingness to put country over party has become far too rare." 


"My fellow Marylanders, you know me. For eight years, we proved that the toxic politics that divide our nation need not divide our state," Hogan continued. "We overcame unprecedented challenges, cut taxes eight years in a row, balanced the budget and created a record surplus. And we did it all by finding common ground for the common good." 

"The politicians in Washington seem to be more interested in arguing than actually getting anything done for the people they represent. Enough is enough," Hogan added. "We can do so much better, but not if we keep electing the same kind of typical partisan politicians." 

Hogan said he would "work with anyone who wants to do the people's business" and that "we desperately need leaders willing to stand up to both parties."

The campaign announcement comes after Hogan recently endorsed Nikki Haley for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and stepped down from the leadership of the third party movement No Labels.

RNC to convene privately, resolution to call Donald Trump the ‘presumptive nominee’ removed

The Republican National Committee is meeting behind closed doors this week as some allies of Donald Trump had hoped to put the group's stamp on the former president early in the 2024 GOP presidential nominating campaign.

But a proposed resolution to declare Trump the presumptive nominee has been removed from the agenda before the committee is scheduled to meet in Las Vegas this week, party officials said.

The reversal comes as the first two early-state contests have winnowed the Republican campaign down to two major candidates, with Trump as the heavy favorite and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley vowing to continue her uphill challenge.


What was expected to be an uneventful RNC winter meeting in Las Vegas this week briefly gained heightened attention last week after the resolution, introduced by Maryland Committeeman David Bossie, to name Trump the presumptive nominee became public.

Bossie was Trump's deputy campaign manager in 2016 and advised his team when Congress pursued a second impeachment after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Within hours of the resolution's leak, Trump batted down the proposal, which some members of the committee criticized publicly as premature.

"While they have far more votes than necessary to do it, I feel, for the sake of PARTY UNITY, that they should NOT go forward with this plan," Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social.

There is no formal RNC rule barring the party from declaring a presumptive nominee. And there is precedent for such a move. In 2016, then-RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the presumptive nominee after the Indiana primary, though that was in May and Trump had battled Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for three months since Cruz finished first in the leadoff Iowa caucuses ahead of second-place Trump.

The Associated Press only uses the term once a candidate has captured the number of delegates needed to win a majority vote at the national party conventions this summer.

That point won’t come until after more states have voted. For both Republicans and Democrats, the earliest it could happen is March.

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel suggested last week that Haley had no path to the nomination in light of Trump's majority vote totals in the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses and the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary.

"We need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump, and we need to make sure we beat Joe Biden," McDaniel said in a Fox News interview the night of the New Hampshire primary.

Haley said Sunday during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the RNC was "clearly not" an honest broker "if you're going to go and basically tell the American people that you're going to go and decide who the nominee is after only two states have voted."

"The American people want to have their say in who is going to be their nominee," she said. "We need to give them that. I mean, you can’t do that based on just two states."

GOP candidate compared deporting illegal immigrants to Nazis, ‘not opposed’ to fast-tracking DACA citizenship

A Republican running for Congress in North Carolina previously compared deporting illegal immigrants to Nazi Germany, and said he was "not opposed" to fast-tracking citizenship for recipients of Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA), also known as "Dreamers."

Pat Harrigan, a candidate running to represent North Carolina's 10th Congressional District, made the comments in an Oct. 2022 interview with WFAE 90.7, a public radio station that services the Charlotte area, while a congressional candidate in a different district ahead of the midterm elections.

"There has to be a pathway to citizenship. Look, from my perspective, you look at countries that have rounded up and exported people from their country. It's a list of countries that we don't want to be involved with. It's Russia. It's North Korea. It's China. It is Nazi Germany," he said when asked about a "pathway to citizenship" for individuals in the U.S. illegally.


"This horse has left the stables on this topic. And the vast, vast majority of immigrants that have come to this country are here because they're trying to build a better life for themselves and for their families," he said.

The interviewer then asked Harrigan about "Dreamers," those brought to the U.S. as children of illegal immigrants, and whether there should be a process for them to gain citizenship more quickly.

"I think we need to look at exactly how we do that, but I'm not opposed to it. I do think it’s incredibly important that we have to gain control of the southern border and gain control of our immigration system first, prior to allowing any type of assimilation program on a widespread basis. Critically important that we do that one-two step," he responded.


The topic of immigration came up while Harrigan was being asked about former President Donald Trump, and whether he should run again for the White House in 2024.

Harrigan dodged the question, saying he was "laser focused" on his midterm race, which he later lost. However, the interviewer pressed him, noting his expressed disagreement with Trump's "personal behaviors," but that he agreed with him on certain policy points.

"I certainly share President Trump's perspective — at least a portion of his perspective — on our southern border. I absolutely believe our southern border is a very real and present danger for the national security of this country," Harrigan responded, citing statistics concerning individuals suspected of terrorism infiltrating the U.S.


Harrigan added that he "absolutely" believed the border needed to be secured, but that he diverged with Trump on the issue of labor.

"We have a massive labor crisis in this country right now. And quite frankly, we are wasting the best opportunity that we have had in the last 50 years to regenerate and regrow the American manufacturing capability, domestic manufacturing, because we don't have any labor to support it. We have to have an ample flow of immigrants into this country," he said.

"I'm very pro-immigration," he added.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Harrigan said the "use of an oppobook by establishment politicians to attack … a decorated combat veteran" exposed their "fear" of his commitment to America-first policies.

"I understand the true cost of freedom and the need for strong national security. My stance is clear: secure our borders first, complete the wall, deport illegal aliens who have broken our laws, and reinstate Trump’s border policies before considering any pathway to citizenship," he said.

"I will fight to rectify the border crisis caused by Biden and radical democrats, advocate for Trump’s policies and push for the impeachment of DHS Secretary Mayorkas for failing to protect our nation," he added.

Harrigan's campaign also pointed Fox News Digital to an ad it released addressing the border crisis.

North Carolina's 10th Congressional District is currently represented by Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry, who briefly served as speaker pro tempore following former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's ouster in October. It is a deep-red district considered a safe seat for Republicans.

McHenry announced in December that he would not seek re-election.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.