Months into a back-and-forth spat with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Donald Trump suggested that he would not necessarily keep the RNC chair in that role if he earned enough delegates to lock up the party’s presidential nomination.
“I don’t know,” Trump told the Washington Post when asked if he’d retain Priebus in an extended interview published Sunday. “I haven’t made the determination.”
Priebus, who is currently in the middle of his third term, is the longest serving RNC chairman in modern history. Committee members re-elected him in 2015 in a landslide 166-to-2 vote.
Presidential nominees do not normally take such a prominent role in determining the leadership of the RNC and cannot vote on the chair’s selection. But Trump said he may install his own allies on the committee if he secures the 1,237 delegates necessary to avoid a contested convention.
RNC communications director Sean Spicer rejected the possibility of Priebus’ ouster during a Monday CNN interview, saying his tenure has turned the GOP into the “gold standard of political parties.”
Trump has blasted Priebus and the RNC for overseeing a “rigged” system that allows candidates to earn delegates in certain states even if they lose the popular vote there. The RNC has fiercely contested this line of attack, saying delegate selection rules have been made available to candidates since October of 2015.
In his interview with the Post, the New York real estate mogul contended that his frontrunner status should allow him to have some influence over the rollout of the July convention in Cleveland, regardless of how many delegates he wins.
Trump called the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida “the single most boring convention I’ve ever seen” and urged RNC officials to foster a “showbiz” atmosphere at the 2016 gathering.
“It’s very important to put some showbiz into a convention, otherwise people are going to fall asleep,” Trump told the Post. “We don’t have the people who know how to put showbiz into a convention.”
The GOP frontrunner has suggested that there would be “riots” at the Cleveland convention if he isn’t nominated. His ally and former adviser Roger Stone also launched a website asking Trump supporters to come to the convention to “own the streets.”
This post has been updated.