RNC chair on Trump criticism: "I don't take it personally"

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday he doesn't take it personally when GOP front-runner Donald Trump blasts him and the Republican Party nomination system as "rigged" against him.

"I don't take it personally, because I kind of just rest in the truth," Priebus told CBS' John Dickerson on "Face the Nation." "It matters when something is right and something is wrong to me."

The RNC chief said, as he has frequently in recent days, that the RNC's delegate processes and rules were put in place long before Trump's rise in the polls. Trump, meanwhile, has tweeted repeatedly about the unfairness of the "rigged delegate system" and made threats about what will happen at this summer's convention in Cleveland if he's not named the nominee.

"I don't know if it's hyperbole or positioning, but the truth is that there are facts, and the RNC doesn't have the power to change the rules between now and the convention," Priebus said. "The rules were set years ago and each state's delegate system was set in October of 2015."

He added that it's up to each campaign to learn and utilize the rules for delegate selection and allocation--a process that has led Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to pick up friendly delegate slots in places where Trump's campaign has been less organized and prepared. On Saturday, for example, Cruz picked up all 14 available delegates at Wyoming's state GOP convention.

"There's another part of the process which is making sure that as a candidate the people that are sitting in those seats are people that once the process gets going are friendly to your wishes and desires," he said. "That's a function of each campaign doing a good job in each of these states with grassroots activists in the party."

Asked if Trump's campaign was doing a good or bad job locking up those delegates, Priebus said it's "not a matter of good or bad," but that getting delegates is about being fully committed to the process and putting in the work.

"If they want to have 100 percent of everything they want to have happen, they have to be 100 percent committed to each of these states and how they select delegates," he said.

Priebus said that, despite Trump's suggestion that whoever gets the most delegates should win the nomination even if they don't reach the required 1,237 delegates, that whoever has a "majority," not a plurality, will be the nominee.

"It's a majority country, it's a majority rules party, and the reality is that having a plurality means that the field actually has a majority," he said. "You have to get the majority of delegates in order to be the nominee and ultimately the delegates of our party through the votes and participation in all the states, decide who the nominee of our party is."

Regardless of the current contentious nomination battle and the threats of violence in Cleveland, Priebus said the convention will be "historic" no matter what happens.

"It'll be a great convention, it'll be a historic convention and either way, whether we have a presumptive nominee beforehand or at the convention, it's going to be a great week," he said. "And I know that everyone here understands that we're watching American history."

  • Emily Schultheis

    Emily Schultheis is a reporter/editor for CBS News Digital.