SSAT puts RNC in an embarrassing position

The first Republican debate between the candidates vying for the party’s presidential nomination is on August 23rd, less than two weeks away. The Republican National Committee (RNC) that is sponsoring the debates has laid down certain conditions that prospective participants must meet in terms of polling numbers, fundraising, and number of donors. It appears that in addition to serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT), Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy and Doug Burgum have already met the threshold.

SSAT has been playing coy about whether he would take part in the debate at all, seeing no upside in allowing those who are polling much lower than him a chance to look like his equal on the debate stage.

Although Trump — who remains the Republican frontrunner by a wide margin — has repeatedly suggested that he might not attend the primary debate, he said Wednesday that he had not “totally ruled it out.”

“I’d like to do it,” Trump said. “I’ve actually gotten very good marks on debating talents. But you want to be, you know, they want a smart president. They want somebody that’s going to be smart. So we have to do the smart thing.”

But the RNC also has one more condition, that all participants must sign a pledge to support the eventual nominee and that is causing problems.

RNC chair Ronna McDaniel has made signing onto the pledge the final requirement for Republican presidential hopefuls to participate in the debate later this month. Former Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) has declined to sign the pledge over concerns about Trump’s candidacy, and both Christie and [Asa] Hutchinson have cast doubt on the pledge’s value and enforceability.

“It’s the Republican Party nomination, and the pledge is staying and anybody who wants to seek the nomination of our party should pledge to support the voters,” McDaniel said on Fox News last month.

I could have told her that she was asking for trouble and that the best she could have hoped for was that SSAT would sign the pledge to help her save face even if he would have no qualms about reneging on it later if it suited his purposes.

Now he has said that he will not sign the pledge.

Donald Trump said Wednesday he will not sign a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee — an RNC requirement for participation in the first primary debate.

“I wouldn’t sign the pledge,” Trump said. “Why would I sign a pledge if there are people on there that I wouldn’t have?”

He told Bolling that he could name “three or four” of the GOP challengers that he would not support for president, specifically criticizing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson over the course of the interview.

So McDaniel will now have to decide between not inviting SSAT, something that will create fury in MAGAland, or humiliating herself and abandoning the pledge requirement, if that will result in SSAT attending. My bet is on the latter since we have seen that there is no humiliation that the GOP will not endure in order to please their cult leader.

Her only escape hatch is if SSAT says unequivocally that, pledge or no pledge, he will not attend, so that she has an excuse for not extending an invitation. But SSAT, like all bullies, likes watching other people squirm so he will likely not commit either way until the last minute.


  1. Oggie: Mathom says

    SSAT puts RNC in an embarrassing position

    I see no problem at all. The RNC and the GOP as a whole, as well as GOP voters, have shown themselves to be shameless, dishonest, power-hungry, and absol-fucking-lutely incapable of embarrassment.

  2. says

    To all outside indications, the GQP, as a whole, is incapable of embarrassment. Dunno why anybody would seriously entertain the notion that this shiny new revelation, this recently-unearthed horrific scandal, would be the one that suddenly activates the GQP’s heretofore-dormant Embarrassment Gland.

  3. says

    When I monitor right wing sites I find that very little of what those of us in the ‘normal’ world read about is presented to the MAGAverse. If there is any coverage of SSAT’s multiple serious indictments, it is on the theme of how the judges are biased against the indictee.
    They rail against Biden and the ‘Democrat’ party, wokeness, immigrants, etc. etc.
    In short, SSAT will join the PGA Tour before any of this penetrates the MAGA cultists. Our only hope is that even those of us who do not care for Biden will show up at the polls and protect democracy.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Joelgrant @ 3
    The “epistemic closure” of American conservatives was a fact even during Dubya. Operators like Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes et al had by that time deluberately worked towards that goal for more than a decade, and right wing talk radio had the same effect.
    Fox News had already turned your elderly relatives into paranoid racists, and that was before Internet-based weirdos like Alex Jones.

    Trump was just a parasite who came along and hijacked the desinformation system, stealing it from the designated Republican politicians like the Bush family. The GOP reluctantly embraced a narcissist and we know the rest.
    Finally, objective reality has caught up with them.

    I love to see SSAT wreck it all, and I love the anguish of politicians who built their career on culture war and lies.

  5. John Morales says

    I love to see SSAT wreck it all

    Hm. Is Trump a symptom, or a cause?

    Finally, objective reality has caught up with them.

    Well, then. No worries, that’s the end of it. Right?

  6. birgerjohansson says

    John Morales @ 5
    No, it is (to steal a phrase from a massively racist guy) “the end of the beginning”. And SSAT is a symptom in the way a cholera outbreak is a symptom of poor sanitation.

    But let us enjoy small victories where we can find them. Farron Cousins (a youtuber operating from Florida and often giving a close-up view of De Santis) noted the clueless assumption of Trump followers that the indictment will help him.
    Even if not all campaign strategists are as clueless as Boebert, the disconnect between their beliefs and reality gives me a small amount of hope 2024 will not be Italy 1922.

  7. John Morales says

    No, it is (to steal a phrase from a massively racist guy) “the end of the beginning”.

    So. A phase transition. A new regime.

    Thing is, you also wrote “The “epistemic closure” of American conservatives was a fact even during Dubya.”, so that was clearly not “the end of the beginning”, in your estimation.

    But fair enough. Just so long as you get that something cannot both be the beginning of a trend and also a symptom of that very same trend.

  8. jenorafeuer says


    Operators like Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes et al had by that time deluberately worked towards that goal for more than a decade

    They (in the generic sense at least) have been working on it since the fallout from Watergate forced Nixon to resign. Nixon was ‘their people’, and the fact that media reporting on his dirty tricks and autocratic attitudes forced him to resign obviously meant that the media had to be replaced with something that wouldn’t dissuade the rank and file Republican.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Oops- it looks as if SSAT is inconsistent about “loyalty”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *