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Thursday, October 27, 2016

By Emily Flitter

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Thursday bowed to pressure from the party establishment and signed a pledge not to run as an independent candidate in the November 2016 presidential election.

“I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge,” the real estate magnate told reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Trump had previously refused to rule out a third-party bid if the Republican Party did not treat him fairly.

His pledge of loyalty on Thursday was a victory for Republican National Committee in its efforts to rein in the billionaire, who leads opinion polls but has upset mainstream Republicans with his brash style and unusually personal attacks on rivals.

An independent Trump candidacy could split support for the Republican Party and give the Democrats a huge boost.

Almost two months after reaching the top of opinion polls among Republicans, Trump has come under sustained fire for the first time from one of his main rivals for the nomination, Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor.

Nudging Trump toward signing the pledge was a weeks-long effort by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and other officials, an RNC official said. Priebus met Trump on Thursday.

“This gets the proverbial elephant out of the room and allows the focus to be on winning the White House and taking the prospect of a third party off the table,” the official said.

Reuters/Ipsos polling shows Trump with support among nearly 31 percent of self-identified Republicans as of Sept. 1, with Bush at nearly 12 percent, behind former neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Trump drew boos from the audience at a Republican debate in Ohio last month when he refused to rule out going it alone in 2016.

He has been under pressure since then to declare his party loyalty, and party officials have been working for weeks to have him sign a pledge. “It reflects a lot of behind the scenes work,” the RNC official said.

Political parties at the state level often ask candidates to sign loyalty pledges, but this is believed to be the first time the Republican Party has done it nationally.

(Additional reporting by Alistair Bell and Alina Selyukh in Washington and Steve Holland in Hampton, N.H.; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Photo: U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

  • charleo1

    Well, there you have it. The great Trump, licking the boots of the establishment RINOS!
    Is there no remaining refuge for the angry loony tunes? The anti-government, anti-Islam, anti-abortion, anti-tax/regulation, anti-immigrant, anti-Obamacare, whew! Anti welfare, anti-UN./Federal Reserve, anti-science/public education, East Coast/West Coast, and the nuts predicting the collapse of the dollar! Now What???

    • Daniel Jones

      Ah, but you forget one thing. When he speaks out against the others and they threaten to kick him out, he’ll have no qualms about telling his following to go vote outside the party.

    • Daniel G


  • Insinnergy

    I don’t think this means much. Trump will tear that up when/if it suits him.

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    • Daniel G

      Piss off dena.

  • FireBaron

    Of course, the only reason THE DONALD signed this is because he still believes he will be the nominee. What’s gonna happen when he isn’t is anybody’s guess.

  • Dominick Vila

    The GOP can keep him, and the rest of the clown troupe, forever. In fact, they are free to handle them as FedEx packages if they wish. The part the GOP seems to be unaware of is how quickly Trump will dump them if it looks like he is not going to get the nomination. In such eventuality he will claim treason to break his pledge.

  • greenlantern1

    Trump’s “firms” have already declared bankruptcy 4 times!
    Is his word worth a continental?

    • Daniel G

      Nope not worth a farthing in my book…that piece of paper isn’t worth the paper its printed on.

  • FT66

    Cool down your heads everyone. Trump knows what he is doing. No one jumps into the field, without knowing how the game is played.

  • 1standlastword

    Oh now there’s a lawsuit in the RNC’s near future

  • indiokie

    He gave in and signed the pledge. Just as he would “cave” on an international level with other country heads of state.

  • docb

    Let’s see…He is the paragon of keeping his word…4 business bankruptcies, 1 personal BK, and two divorces..Let alone the Polish workers he gouged, and the Art he destroyed, and the frivolous laws suits he files…

    No teeth in the pledge anyway! But he jumped to his knees when renice came calling…

  • anothertoothpick

    I would like to make him sign a pledge that he will make the Mexicans pay for the fence.

    And whatever else we could get the Mexicans to pay for.