The Republican National Committee (RNC) has given U.S. President Donald Trump its “undivided support,” an unusually early declaration ahead of the 2020 U.S. election.
The RNC, which is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, voted unanimously on Friday to give its “undivided support for President Donald J. Trump and his effective Presidency” at its annual winter meeting in New Mexico.
The declaration is symbolic of the growing support for Trump in the party since his candidacy in 2016.
While the declaration stopped short of endorsing Trump for the 2020 election, party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted that “the RNC is fired up and ready to re-elect @realDonaldTrump in 2020!”
Trump took the vote as an endorsement for his re-election campaign, tweeting on Saturday: “Thank you to the Republican National Committee, (the RNC), who voted UNANIMOUSLY yesterday to support me in the upcoming 202 Election.”
Trump has not been officially named the party’s nominee, making the vote an unusual move, as the RNC has historically waited until that happens before expressing support for a candidate.
The declaration could discourage a potential GOP challenger from running against the president without the RNC’s support.
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The declaration of support comes after the decision to merge Trump’s re-election campaign with the RNC, which will combine the RNC’s field organizing and fundraising efforts and Trump’s team under one roof to streamline campaign efforts.
There is speculation that other Republicans may still challenge Trump in 2020, such as Former senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who ran for president against President Barack Obama in 2012, has also stirred speculation of a potential bid after writing an op-ed critical of Trump in the Washington Post.
No Republican has announced a bid against Trump yet.
Trump remains popular with Republican voters, getting an 80 per cent approval rating from Republicans in an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released earlier in the week.
However, the poll shows Trump’s general approval rating is at 34 per cent, down eight per cent from a month earlier.
A number of Democrats have entered the race for their party’s nomination, including senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as Julian Castro, former secretary of housing and urban development during the Obama administration.