Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has warned that if he is “treated unfairly” by the GOP establishment, then he will consider running on an independent ticket if he does not win the party nomination.
Trump would be breaking a loyalty pledge he had agreed upon with the Republican National Convention. The loyalty pledge is an assurance that he would not seek an independent run if he fails to become the GOP presidential nominee, MSNBC reports.
Trump has indicated he signed the pledge on the condition that he be “treated fairly” by the Republican establishment. What the billionaire businessman considers unfair remains unclear.
While Trump has enjoyed minimal resistance from the Republican establishment so far in the GOP primary, there is a mounting campaign of big-money donors who aim to “defeat and destroy” his momentum at the polls, The Wall Street Journal reports.
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Trump tweeted about the article on Nov. 23, indicating the resistance against him may violate his agreement with the RNC.
[email protected] reports that @GOP getting ready to treat me unfairly — big spending planned against me,” Trump writes. “That wasn’t the deal!”
During a Nov. 22 appearance on ABC News, Trump changed his position on an independent party run, indicating he may be open to the idea, despite his loyalty pledge.
“Well, I’m going to have to see what happens,” Trump tells ABC News. “I have to be treated fairly. You know, when I did this, I said I have to be treated fairly. If I’m treated fairly, I’m fine. All I want to do is a level playing field.”
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Trump running an independent campaign is cause for concern among Republicans. With the 2016 presidential election expected to be highly competitive, having a popular independent candidate drawing votes away from the eventual Republican nominee could cost the GOP the White House.
There are “sore-loser” laws in states including Ohio and Michigan, which bar a presidential candidate from running as an independent if they have already run under a party platform. If Trump decides to run, Republicans can use this tool to keep him from drawing away votes, MSNBC reports.