Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he is open to an independent run if he does not win the GOP nomination, despite having signed a pledge ruling out the idea (video below).
The business mogul is currently the front-runner for the Republican nomination. After harsh criticism from his fellow candidates and GOP lawmakers following his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., Trump has fired back by reopening the possibility that he will run on an independent ticket.
“A new poll indicates that 68 percent of my supporters would vote for me if I departed the GOP & ran as an independent,” Trump tweeted on Dec. 8, sending a pointed threat to the Republican establishment, CNN reports.
This would be going against the pledge Trump had signed, promising the Republican National Committee he would not run against the eventual Republican nominee, should he lose the RNC nomination.
Trump signed the pledge on Sept. 3 at Trump Tower, in New York City, treating the event with great pomp and circumstance, surrounded by fans and reporters, The New York Times reports.
The business mogul said at the time that he had signed the pledge after the RNC promised to treat him fairly as a candidate.
“I really got nothing, absolutely nothing other than the assurance,” Trump said about the deal.
During a Dec. 9 sit down with CNN’s Don Lemon, Trump emphasized that he does not intend to break his pledge but that there was an unspoken agreement between him and the RNC.
“I think it’s highly unlikely unless they break the pledge to me, because it’s a two-way street,” Trump told Lemon. “They said they would be honorable. So far ... the establishment is not exactly being very good to me.”
Trump then added that he would be open to running as an independent if he is displeased by the RNC during the GOP primaries.
“If they don’t treat me with a certain amount of decorum and respect, if the don’t treat me as a front-runner … if the playing field is not level, then certainly all options are open,” Trump said. “But that’s not something I want to do … I'll know over a period of a couple months. We’ll go through the primaries. We’ll see what happens, and I’ll make a determination.”
Following the interview on Dec. 9, Fox News’ “Special Report” panelist Charles Krauthammer expressed doubts about Trump seriously considering an independent because he would likely lose.
“And that would be his mark on history, and I don’t think he likes to be seen as a loser,” Krauthammer said. “The Republican nomination is his shot (at the presidency), and I think that’s what he wants to go for.”