WASHINGTON Republican frontrunner Donald Trump Thursday signed a pledge not to run as an independent if he doesn’t win the GOP presidential nomination.
Trump announced that he signed the non-binding pledge after a meeting at New York’s Trump Tower with Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus.
“So I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands and we will go out and fight hard and we will win,” Trump said.
The RNC circulated the pledge among the party’s 17 presidential candidates to affirm that they would unite around whoever emerges as the Republican nominee from the primaries and convention next year in Cleveland.
“I felt the absolute best way to win and beat the Democrats and very easily, I think, beat the Democrats, no matter who it might be…the best way for Republicans to win is if I win the nomination and go directly against whoever they put up. For that reason, I have signed the pledge,” Trump said.
Asked if he received any promises from Priebus, Trump replied “absolutely nothing other than the assurance that I would be treated fairly.” Asked if he would change his mind, Trump said “I see no circumstances under which I tear up that pledge.”
Trump sent shivers through the Republican establishment last month when, at the first GOP presidential debate, he was the only candidate who wouldn’t promise to support the party’s nominee if he failed to win. Since entering the race, Trump has held out the possibility of running an independent campaign if he felt that he was being mistreated by the Republican Party. All appeared well Thursday afternoon.
“The RNC has been absolutely terrific over the last two-month period,” he said. “And as you know, that’s what I’ve wanted. I’ve wanted fairness. I don’t have to be treated any differently than anybody else. I just wanted fairness from the Republican Party.”
The pledge states that “I _______, affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for President of the United States, I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, regardless of who it is.”
It goes on to state “I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I see to accept the nomination for president of any other party.”
Trump took the pledge as a Monmouth University poll Thursday showed his lead over the crowded Republican field has increased since last month’s debate. The real estate mogul and reality television show host registered 30 percent support among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, up four points from early August.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson Ben placed second at 18 percent, up 13 points. But in head-to-head contest, the poll showed Carson topping Trump 55 percent to 36 percent.
“The fact that the only one who can challenge Trump is the only other candidate who has never held or run for elected office speaks volumes to the low regard GOP voters have for the establishment,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth Polling Institute in West Long Branch, N.J.