'If anyone is a RINO, it’s Donald Trump!' RNC members turn on former president as 'rift emerges' at meeting
Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the Giant Center in 2019. (Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com)

Some members of the Republican National Committee are speaking out against former president Donald Trump at the group's winter meetings in Salt Lake City.

NBC News reported Thursday night that a rift was emerging at the meeting between Trump's interests and the party's.

"Republican candidates need to make voters' concerns a central focus, as opposed to Trump’s day-to-day attacks, RNC members suggested this week," according to the network. "Few will put it quite so bluntly; they are loath to antagonize Trump and possibly drive off his hard-core followers. Yet in interviews, party officials showed little appetite for organizing the GOP around Trump’s grievances."

William Palatucci, an RNC member from New Jersey, said Trump "needs to figure out a way to be constructive and not destructive: Help the party raise money; stay out of primaries unless there’s a really good reason."

"Picking fights with really good candidates is not a good idea!" Palatucci said.

Palatucci and others also criticized a resolution censuring Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as "a waste of time," according to the Washington Post.

“Why are we being dragged into a primary in Wyoming?” Palatucci said.

Other members reportedly were "upset" about Trump's statement earlier this week suggesting that former vice president Mike Pence should be investigated for his role on Jan. 6. According to NBC News, those members "said they resented that kind of treatment of a stalwart conservative."

One member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid backlash from Trump loyalists, said the former president's latest attack on Pence "diminishes him further."

"It is beyond what we would call midwestern common courtesy," the member said. "None of us understand it. Pence is a conservative Republican. If anyone is a RINO [Republican in Name Only], it’s Donald Trump. Think about it."

Other RNC members criticized Trump's continued obsession with false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

"The voters, for the most part, are aspirational and want to see candidates who are going to talk about tomorrow, not yesterday," one state party chairman who requested anonymity told NBC News. "I think the more you try to look backwards, the less likely you’re going to succeed in this business going forward."

According to the Washington Post, "several members said their colleagues were uninterested in reckoning with Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack, and his false rhetoric that the election was stolen."

“They (Trump supporters) want to put their head in the sand,” one committee member said.

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