President Trump’s three primary challengers penned a joint op-ed hammering states that canceled their presidential primaries.
Former Reps. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and former Gov. William Weld (R-Mass.) wrote in The Washington Post on Friday the efforts by slew of states to scrap their nominating contests marks “an effort to eliminate any threats to the president’s political power in 2020.”
“What does this say about the Republican Party? If a party stands for nothing but reelection, it indeed stands for nothing. Our next nominee must compete in the marketplace of ideas, values and leadership. Each of us believes we can best lead the party. So does the incumbent. Let us each take our case to the public,” they said.
“Cowards run from fights. Warriors stand and fight for what they believe. The United States respects warriors. Only the weak fear competition.”
The three Republicans noted the heated primary being waged by 20 Democrats, saying eliminating GOP primaries would produce a system that resembles China or Russia rather than America.
“It would be a critical mistake to allow the Democratic Party to dominate the national conversation during primary and caucus season,” they wrote. “Let us spend the next six months attempting to draw new voters to our party instead of demanding fealty to a preordained choice.”
Thus far primaries have been canceled in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas. Trump’s campaign has reportedly worked with several state Republican parties to blunt the appeal of primary challengers and help install pro-Trump leaders in state party roles.
Parties of incumbent presidents have canceled primaries in the past. The Arizona Democratic Party did not have primaries in 2012 and 1996 when former Presidents Obama and Clinton, respectively, were running for reelection.
The three challengers have still lambasted the decisions, writing that the primaries are the “only opportunity” for Republicans to decide who should helm the party and that the GOP should “Let those voices be heard.”