Donald Trump probably is not happy about this.
The Republican National Committee last week mailed supporters a fundraising letter and survey of GOP 2024 presidential hopefuls over the signature of RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. The letter was remarkable, not for what it said, but what it didn't say.
The party of Donald Trump didn't mention Donald Trump, other than to list his name without fanfare on an alphabetical list of 15 potential presidential nominees. Instead, McDaniel offered the following unconvincing disclaimer:
"I must emphasize the RNC is strictly neutral through the entire presidential primary process," McDaniel's letter stated. "But once the presidential primaries are complete in 2024, the RNC is the ONLY Party committed by federal law that can provide substantial direct financial support to our presidential nominee."
From Trump's perch as arguably the most narcissistic human ever, the two-page letter's five mentions of the White House and zero of him likely didn't sit well. In particular, this paragraph took neutrality to a level not seen at the RNC for many years:
"President Biden and the Radical Democrats are feverishly working to reverse the gains our country made the last four years under Republican leadership in the White House and are determined to ram their Far Left agenda down the American people's throats."
Really? "Under Republican leadership in the White House?" Can't think of the fellow's name, apparently. What's worse, it's part of a sentence that looks to be lifted right off of a MAGA propaganda piece.
McDaniel's letter explained that I (strangely enough) have been invited to be "one of a handful of Republicans in your state" to help ensure the party picks the "absolute strongest candidate for the Presidency our party can find." It repeatedly mentioned Biden and sounded alarms in terms strangely reminiscent of that guy who preceded him:
"Their Far-Left special interest allies are already planning to raise billions of dollars to keep Biden in the White House for another four years so he can finish the "fundamental transformation" of America into a Big Government Socialist state."
The letter was accompanied by an enclosure listing 15 "Republican leaders as potential nominees for president of the United States." We special recipients of the letter weren't asked to rank them, merely to check one of five boxes rating our views of them from "strongly favorable" to "strongly unfavorable."
As the letter explained, "The poll does not ask you to choose between possible candidates. Its purpose is simply to help our Party and possible candidates establish a baseline gauge, at this moment in time, of the interest, viability and support within our Party, of the current provisional slate of "most likely" presidential nominees.
Despite the pledge of strict neutrality, the RNC had to pick someone and — given that there are far more than 15 such leaders — it had to some people as well. Both lists, as well as Trump's not-at-all-special treatment, were rather telling.
Here's the list of candidates, with their accompanying descriptions:
- Tom Cotton (Arkansas Senator)
- Chris Christie (Former New Jersey Governor)
- Ted Cruz (Texas Senator)
- Ron DeSantis (Florida Governor)
- Nikki Haley (Former South Carolina Governor)
- Josh Hawley (Missouri Senator)
- Larry Hogan (Maryland Governor)
- Rand Paul (Kentucky Senator)
- Mike Pence (Former Vice President)
- Mike Pompeo (Former Secretary of State)
- Marco Rubio (Florida Senator)
- Rick Scott (Florida Senator)
- Tim Scott (South Carolina Senator)
- Donald J. Trump (Former President)
- Donald Trump Jr. (Businessman)
Just the way the candidates are listed and identified is a hoot. Not that Trump wouldn't appreciate the need to refer to him parenthetically as "Former president." At least he wasn't just called "Businessman" like his son.
But it's worth noting some of the big names who didn't make the cut. There was Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, former adviser and what not. There was Governors Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Greg Abbott, of Texas, on almost everyone's short list. They must be wondering how the RNC dredged up Christie for a spin rather than them. So might Senators Mike Lee and Joni Ernst and Rep. Dan Crenshaw.
On the celebrity non-politician front — where Don Jr. is lined up, so to speak — a couple of glaring omissions were two media figures whose names have been widely bandied about: Tucker Carlson and Candace Coleman.
These non-inclusions probably weren't as telling, however, as those of Senators Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse, Governor Mike DeWine, former Governor John Kasich and former Senator Bob Corker. All of them have run, or are flirting with running, for the GOP presidential nomination. All have received the title "Never Trumper."
Or, as the RNC, apparently would say now, "Never that former president."