Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, seen here speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March. This week, Priebus said a little-known conservative writer, David French, is on a "suicide mission" if he mounts a third party presidential campaign. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) -- Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said David French, the little-known conservative writer who is considering mounting a third party presidential campaign, is on a "suicide mission."
"Look, I don't want to say anything disparaging against the guy because I don't know him and I'm sure he's a good person, but I think it's also just this sort of suicide mission, and a huge distraction," Priebus said Thursday on Hugh Hewitt's radio show. "I don't see it going anywhere. ... I think it's sort of silly, to tell you the truth. I have to say, I think the people involved with it are embarrassing themselves."
French has been touted by Bill Kristol, the neo-conservative editor of The Weekly Standard who has fashioned himself as a leader of the Never Trump group of neo-conservatives and old guard Republicans who remain steadfastly opposed to Trump as the Republican nominee.
Earlier this week, Kristol tweeted that he had recruited an "impressive" candidate with a "strong team" and a "real chance" to win as an independent.
When it became clear French was that man, many in the Washington establishment asked the obvious first question: David who?
French is an Iraq war veteran, a graduate of Harvard Law School, a constitutional law professor and a staff writer for National Review magazine.
Kristol, 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney and conservative blogger and radio host Erik Erikson have publicly sought a candidate who could challenge Trump, even as Trump closed in on the Republican Party's nomination in mid-April.
Romney himself ruled out a third White House campaign. The Never Trump group was said to have approached a number of elected officials and retired military leaders to try to find a candidate, but all said no.
Priebus said Thursday on the radio that third-party candidates require near universal name recognition and access to tens of millions of dollars to mount a credible candidacy, and that French has neither.