Republicans will debate whether to declare Trump a "virtual candidate" despite the primaries having just begun


The Republican National Committee (RNC) is set to debate a resolution next week to declare Donald Trump as the "virtual nominee of 2024" for the party, despite only two states having held votes, and the former president is still far from meeting the mandatory delegate count for the designation.

If approved, the measure would further consolidate Trump's control over the party and its operation at a time when former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley continues to compete against Trump for the Republican Party nomination.

According to a draft obtained by The Associated Press, the resolution "declares Trump as our virtual nominee for the office of President of the United States and, from this point forward, acts with an eye toward the general election."

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel expressed support for the resolution.

On Tuesday, after Haley finished second to Trump in New Hampshire, McDaniel stated that while she felt the former ambassador had "a great campaign," Republicans "need to rally around our eventual nominee, who will be Donald Trump."

News of the resolution, first reported by The Dispatch, comes as officials prepare to gather next week in Las Vegas for the RNC's winter meeting, where the debate is expected to take place.

New Jersey RNC National Committeeman Bill Palatucci, a longtime supporter of former Republican candidate Chris Christie, referred to the resolution as "silly."

"It's an insult to the millions of primary voters who look forward to the opportunity to engage in presidential politics every four years," he emphasized.