NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on Friday told an audience of conservatives at CPAC, including an apparent number of Donald Trump supporters, that he thinks it’s “highly, highly unlikely” that there will be a contested GOP convention this summer.
“I think the odds of a contested convention are very small,” Priebus said during an on-stage interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference with Sean Hannity of Fox News.
Pressed by Hannity to state the odds of that not happening, where no candidate enters the nominating with a majority delegates, Priebus said: “I don’t know, 85 or 90 percent?”
The notion of a contested convention has gained steam in recent days. Some Trump supporters are worried that the Republican establishment, through a contested convention where no candidate enters with the necessary majority, could stop Trump from becoming the GOP nominee even if he wins the most delegates during the primaries.
“I think a lot of this is early talk,” Priebus told the crowd. “Just so you understand. There are 1,237 delegates needed to be the nominee of our party. There are 1,744 delegates left to be distributed. We are a long way to go.”
Priebus also tried to calm some of the fears of Trump’s supporters. “Well first of all, let me just clear something up for everybody,” he said. “Very clear. Whoever the nominee is of our party, they’re going to get the full-backing and 100 percent support.”
Also during the interview with Priebus, the CPAC booed when Hannity referenced Mitt Romney’s anti-Trump speech on Friday. Romney seemed to argue in favor of a contested convention scenario to stop Trump.
“Everybody, I voted for Mitt Romney proudly and I think he would’ve been a great president but I was not happy with his speech yesterday,” Hannity said in response to the booing.
Speaking about Hillary Clinton and the FBI investigation into her email server while secretary of state, Priebus referenced the latest news this week and said: “When the DOJ hands out immunity agreements around your employees, it’s not for something that’s not real.”
Hannity then jokingly asked Priebus if he thinks Hillary looks good in orange. “Well, we might have to find out,” the RNC chairman said.
Priebus added: “But who knows: Hillary Clinton might not even be eligible to run by the time we get to November.”
Some in the crowd, at one point, expressed their disagreement with Priebus when he discussed how Capitol Hill Republicans have handled the efforts to defund Obamacare and fight Obama’s immigration actions.
“There’s a feeling that Republicans didn’t fight, they were too timid, they were afraid they would get blamed for a government shutdown,” Hannity told him.
“If I could single-handily repeal Obamacare and if I could, obviously, tear up the executive amnesty, I would do it right here,” Priebus replied.
“But they have the power of the purse,” Hannity said.
“But they also the constitution that provides for veto authority that the president has and that’s constitutional as well,” Priebus said.
“You can’t promise things that you can’t deliver, that’s clearly something you can’t do,” the RNC chairman said to moans of displeasure from the audience.
Priebus quickly added that he would like the Congress to use the power of the purse to fight President Obama’s agenda. “I wish that the legislature would,” he said. “But as the chairman of the RNC, I don’t have the authority to walk across the street and pass bills single handily.”