tapper 12142018
tapper 12142018
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:15
Tapper: Will Trump's base ever leave him?
Now playing
02:41
Loyal Texas Trump voters want Biden to be less divisive
Now playing
01:33
Chuck Schumer announces timeline for Trump impeachment
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order as Vice President Kamala Harris looks on during an event on economic crisis in the State Dining Room of the White House January 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden spoke on his administration
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order as Vice President Kamala Harris looks on during an event on economic crisis in the State Dining Room of the White House January 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden spoke on his administration's response to the economic crisis that caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and signed two executive orders. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
02:31
Biden zeroes in on the teetering economy in first week
White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett speaks with reporters at the White House, Friday, June 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett speaks with reporters at the White House, Friday, June 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
PHOTO: Alex Brandon/AP
Now playing
05:08
Ex-Trump official who supports Biden stimulus plan speaks out
Dick Durbin 0122
Dick Durbin 0122
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:41
Sen. Durbin: We can't pass anything without bipartisanship
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MARYLAND - JANUARY 20: President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One for his last time as President on January 20, 2021 in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Trump, the first president in more than 150 years to refuse to attend his successor
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MARYLAND - JANUARY 20: President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One for his last time as President on January 20, 2021 in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Trump, the first president in more than 150 years to refuse to attend his successor's inauguration, is expected to spend the final minutes of his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. (Photo by Pete Marovich - Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Pete Marovich/Pool/Getty Images
Now playing
04:20
Former top administration officials lobby to convict Trump
Guard Soldiers were ordered to move from the cafeteria to the parking garage
Guard Soldiers were ordered to move from the cafeteria to the parking garage
PHOTO: Obtained by CNN
Now playing
01:42
Photos show National Guard confined to parking garage
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cpt 0121
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cpt 0121
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:42
Ocasio-Cortez: We still don't feel safe around other members of Congress
mccarthy
mccarthy
Now playing
04:18
McCarthy contradicts himself on Trump's role in insurrection
Now playing
06:30
'Do you feel you were duped?': Burnett presses GOP lawmaker
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during her first press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during her first press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
PHOTO: Evan Vucci/AP
Now playing
01:48
WH press secretary vows transparency and honesty on first day
Now playing
02:30
Pences share a laugh with Vice President Harris and her husband
Now playing
01:12
Kamala Harris sworn in as Vice President
President Donald Trump speaks at Joint Base Andrew on Wednesday, January 20.
President Donald Trump speaks at Joint Base Andrew on Wednesday, January 20.
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:00
See Trump's final message as President as his family looks on
(CNN) —  

South Carolina Republicans could forgo their 2020 presidential primary in a show of support for President Donald Trump, the party chairman told CNN, a move that could frustrate efforts of possible GOP challengers.

The potential move was first reported by the Washington Examiner.

State Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick said a final decision won’t be made until this summer, when the party’s executive committee meets. But he suggested that such a move would be on the table and likely to receive the party’s stamp of approval.

“Why have taxpayers pay for a primary? Our party totally supports the President,” McKissick said.

This would not be the first time that Republicans nixed the “first-in-the-South primary” and endorsed the incumbent president. They did so for President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and again in 2004 for President George W. Bush.

Luke Byars, who served as the South Carolina GOP chairman in 2004, explained that the party — not the state — footed the bill for the primary election at that time. “And the party didn’t really want to undertake any of that, because the party supported the president,” Byars told CNN.

But there were political considerations, too.

“The President’s re-election campaign was not unhappy with our move,” Byars said, “let’s put it that way.”

South Carolina Republicans have been influential in the Trump administration, with the President tapping former Gov. Nikki Haley and former Rep. Mick Mulvaney to serve in his administration. Trump also counts Sen. Lindsey Graham and current Gov. Henry McMaster among his close allies, and he has visited the state on multiple occasions as president.

McKissick said he has not spoken with Trump’s re-election team or national Republican Party officials about forgoing the presidential primary in 2020. But there’s little question that a move to effectively quash the state’s presidential primary could help protect Trump in the face of possible threats from within his own party.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush was forced to endure a bruising South Carolina primary contest against Pat Buchanan. Although Bush prevailed in the Palmetto State, he limped into the general election.

As one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history, Trump could face a challenge from Ohio Gov. John Kasich, among others. But no one has officially jumped into the race, and the President is still overwhelmingly popular with Republican voters.

“Right now, I’m not even aware of a need for a primary,” McKissick said. “I’m not aware of any challengers.”

However, the state is already teeming with activity among would-be Democratic presidential candidates — another reason to possibly forgo a GOP primary, McKissick said: “Why would we want to distract any attention from the absolute circus the Democratic primaries are going to be?”