The Republican establishment breathed a huge sigh of relief last fall when GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump signed a loyalty pledge binding him to endorse the GOP nominee, whomever it is, and precluding a third-party run. At the time, a close associate said the candidate felt he’d been “treated fairly” by the party, which had been Trump’s stated criterion for deciding to sign the pledge.
A lot of things have changed since then — including both the relationship between Trump and the party and the candidate’s commitment to the pledge, apparently. As the New York Post reports, the GOP frontrunner is leaving the door open for a third-party bid, should he not walk away from the party convention as the nominee.
Donald Trump is refusing to rule out a third-party bid for The White House.
During a Fox News interview airing Sunday, Trump said he would prefer to run on the Republican line, but left himself the option for an independent bid should the party reject him at the July national convention in Cleveland.
“I want to run as a Republican. I will beat Hillary Clinton,” he told Fox’s Chris Wallace, in an excerpt released Friday.
When pressed on a potential third-party candidacy, Trump added: “I’m gonna have to see how I was treated [before making a decision]. It’s very simple.”
A third-party run by anyone has the potential to dramatically alter the general election outcome — and by someone with as much staunch support behind him as Donald Trump, it’s pretty much unchartered territory.
Rivals Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich both were also noncommittal recently about supporting the Republican nominee, regardless of who it ends up being, when asked by Anderson Cooper during a recent CNN town hall. They haven’t, however, yet floated the notion of their own potential third-party runs.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]