All three of the remaining Republican presidential candidates said at a CNN Town Hall in Milwaukee that they no longer feel beholden to the “loyalty pledge” they signed in September not to run as a third party candidate and to support the party’s presidential nominee.
When asked point blank if he would pledge his support to the nominee, Trump answered: “No, I don’t any more… I have been treated very unfairly.”
Asked three times whether he would support Trump as the party’s nominee, Texas Senator Ted Cruz refused to give a yes or no answer. “I’m not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and my family,” Cruz said. “I think nominating Donald Trump would be an absolute train wreck. I think it would hand the general election to Hillary Clinton.”
Ohio Governor John Kasich also dodged the question of whether he would support whoever became the Republican nominee, but left open the possibility that he might not. “Maybe I won’t answer it either,” Kasich said. “I don’t want to be political here: I’ve got to see what happens.”
RNC chairman Reince Priebus visited Trump in his Manhattan office in September, when Trump officially signed a pledge to support the eventual nominee after threatening to run as a third party candidate if he was treated unfairly. Both Kasich and Cruz said at a debate in March that they would support Trump if he were to win the nomination.
Trump, who spoke Tuesday after Cruz, said that he was fine not having Cruz’s support. “I don’t want to have him be tormented. Let me just tell you, I don’t want his support,” Trump said. “I don’t need his support. I want him to be comfortable.”
Trump is leading Cruz in the delegate race, but it’s unclear if the billionaire will be able to get the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.
If he does not, and Cruz also fails to reach the delegate threshold, the party will face a brokered convention in July, and the lack of unity among the remaining candidates would lead to a messy floor fight.