In a new interview with political news website The Hill, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke on a variety of subjects, from his controversial comments about Mexican immigrants, to his presidential challengers in both parties, to the Supreme Court.
But one thing Trump said is making headlines everywhere: He is not opposed to running as a third-party candidate if he does not win the Republican nomination.
“The RNC (Republican National Committee) has not been supportive. They were always supportive when I was a contributor. I was their fair-haired boy,” Trump said to The Hill in the interview on July 22. “The RNC has been, I think, very foolish.”
He went on to say that the chance of him running as a third-party candidate will “absolutely” increase if he does not win the Republican nomination, stating that “so many people want me to, if I don’t win.”
“I’ll have to see how I’m being treated by the Republicans. Absolutely, if they’re not fair, that would be a factor,” he added.
The New York Times noted the significance of past third-party candidates. For example, Ralph Nader’s candidacy in 2000 likely siphoned off votes from Democratic nominee Al Gore in one of the closest elections in the nation’s history. In 1992, Ross Perot received 19 percent of the vote, enough for incumbent George H.W. Bush to lose to Bill Clinton.
Earlier this month, RNC chair Reince Priebus personally called Trump and asked him to tone down his comments about Mexican immigrants, among other topics, according to The Hill. After being questioned about the conversation by reporters, Trump said Priebus was supportive of him and his candidacy.
Trump says other Republicans who have publicly criticized him for his remarks, specifically the most recent attack against Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, are only distancing themselves from Trump because the billionaire businessman is not part of the GOP establishment.
“I’m not in the gang. I’m not in the group where the group does whatever it’s supposed to do. I want to do what’s right for the country — not what’s good for special interest groups that contribute, not what’s good for the lobbyists and the donors,” he said.
When asked about the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump said he would appoint justices with a “conservative bent,” much like that of current Justices Sam Alito and Antonin Scalia. He also criticized Chief Justice John Roberts, a Republican who was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2005.
“Jeb Bush was the one that pushed Roberts through his brother, and Roberts gave us Obamacare,” Trump said. “Roberts was a terrible choice. We wouldn’t be talking about Obamacare right now if we didn’t have Roberts.”
Trump also praised Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders for opposing President Barack Obama’s trade deal, saying that’s the “one thing” he agrees with the Vermont senator on.
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