16 Candidates Pledged To Support The GOP Nominee. Here’s Where They Are Now.
Donald Trump’s latest temper tantrum is here. The presumptive Republican nominee is furious that some former presidential hopefuls who signed a “loyalty pledge” have not stuck to their promise. He called them “sore losers.”
“They signed a pledge saying they will abide, saying they will back the candidate of the party,” Trump lamented on Wednesday, “They broke their word. In my opinion, they should never be allowed to run for public office again because what they did is disgraceful.”
The RNC pushed a party loyalty pledge after Trump was the only GOP candidate to refuse to rule out an independent presidential bid during the first debate last August. At the time, he wasn’t considered a serious contender for president, but the party was worried an independent bid by Trump would “spoil” the race for the eventual, serious nominee. Oh, how times have changed.
By September, Trump had given in. “The best way for the Republicans to win is if I win the nomination and go directly against whoever they happen to put up. And for that reason, I have signed the pledge,” he said at the time.
The pledge reads: “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.”
The pledge continues: “I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.”
Since then, nearly everyone who signed the pledge has shown some sign of regretting it. Trump himself backed off his promise to support whomever the GOP nominee was back in March.
During a CNN town hall with the remaining three GOP nominees at the time, all of them backed away from the pledge.
“All of us shouldn’t even have answered that question,” Kasich said when asked if he would still support the GOP nominee.
Cruz said he was not “in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and my family,” before adding that nominating “nominating Donald Trump would be an absolute trainwreck, I think it would hand the general election to Hillary Clinton.”
Trump used Cruz’s answer to support his own, saying he was treated ” very unfairly” by the RNC, and that Cruz had “essentially” said the same thing when asked about the pledge.
So where do the former GOP presidential hopefuls who signed the Pledge stand on supporting Trump? Out of 16, only three are vocally holding out on endorsements.
John Kasich – No endorsement, will not vote for Trump
The Ohio governor has called his decision to violate the pledge “painful.”
“I’m sorry this has happened. We’ll see where it ends up. I’m not making a final decision yet but at this point I just can’t do it,” Kasich said in early June when asked if he would vote for Trump.
“The divisiveness, the division, the name calling — it just doesn’t go down well with me,” Kasich said, before adding that he was open to changing his mind if Trump toned town his campaign rhetoric.
Kasich has not yet said whether he will attend the RNC convention in his home state of Ohio.
According to the New York Times, “Mr. Kasich’s spokesman said the governor plans to be ‘in and around’ Cleveland that week. But he has no plans to be involved in anything that has to do with Mr. Trump. Instead, he will attend ‘events focusing on keeping the Republican majorities in Congress and winning races down ballot,’ Mr. Schrimpf said.”
Ted Cruz – No endorsement, mostly silence
The Texas senator and runner-up to Trump has not endorsed him for president. Cruz has remained pretty quiet on the subject since pulling out of the race after losing Indiana.
Jeb Bush – No Endorsement, will not vote for Trump.
The former Florida governor announced on a Facebook post that he will abstain from voting in the presidential elections next November, as well as from attending the Convention in July.
“In November, I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels, just as I have done my entire life,” his statement read.
Chris Christie – Endorsement
Christie was one of the first to jump on the Trump bandwagon.
“I will lend my support between now and November in any way for Donald,” he told reporters back in February soon after dropping out of the race.
Since then, he has campaigned for Donald Trump, and many political watchers think he would have a sure spot in a hypothetical Trump administration.
Carly Fiorina – No endorsement, mostly silence
Fiorina was selected as Ted Cruz’s running mate after she ended her campaign, and just days before he ended his.
Sources close to Fiorina told the Washington Examiner that she would not help Trump’s candidacy, but she has not been a vocal critic of Trump after dropping out. She has, however, continued to express disdain for democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary Clinton can’t run on her record: a quarter-century of failure, incompetence and corruption. The only way she can win is by playing the gender card,” she wrote on June 8.
In May she called for GOP unity at a speech in Connecticut, but did not mention Trump.
Jim Gilmore — Endorsement
Glimore said he will vote for Trump in a May appearance on Fox Business, and encouraged his supporters (both of them) to rally behind the GOP presumptive nominee.
Lindsey Graham — No endorsement, will not vote for Trump
The South Carolina senator told CNN that Republican party has been “conned” and that he will not be voting for either Clinton or Trump in the coming election and will not be attending the Republican convention in July. “This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” Graham said of Trump. “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it. There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”
Ben Carson – Endorsement
The retired neurosurgeon has been an active campaigner for Trump. Like Christie, he stood next to Trump to announce his endorsement.
Mike Huckabee — Endorsement
“I am all in for @realDonaldTrump and urge all the GOP to unite and win back the White House,” Huckabee tweeted in May. Since then, Huckabee has kept his word and campaigned for Trump.
Bobby Jindal – Endorsement
The Louisiana Gov. has said he will back Trump because he wants to defeat Hillary Clinton. He wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal titled “I’m Voting Trump, Warts and All,” where he explained that although he does not share some policy views with Trump, he is the best option to defeat Hillary Clinton.
George Pataki — No endorsement
The former New York governor has not yet endorsed Trump, but he seems open to it, saying in late May that he’s waiting to hear more “thoughtful positions.”
‘He has yet to articulate a very strong policy towards how he’s going to keep America safe and go after radical Islam,’ Pataki added.
Rand Paul – No Endorsement, but will honor pledge
“You know, I’ve always said I will endorse the nominee,” Paul said in May. “I think it’s almost a patriotic duty of anyone in Kentucky to oppose the Clintons, because I think they’re rotten to the core, I think they’re dishonest people, and ultimately I think we have to be concerned with what’s best for Kentucky.”
Rick Perry — Full endorsement
Back in May, the former Texas governor told CNN he would support Trump as the GOP nominee and do anything he could to help him.
“He is not a perfect man. But what I do believe is that he loves this country and he will surround himself with capable, experienced people and he will listen to them,” Perry said at the time.
Marco Rubio – Sort-of endorsement
During a May CNN interview, Rubio reluctantly said he would work with Trump in order to defeat Clinton, and even said he was willing to speak on Trump’s behalf at the Convention in July. He has since re-entered the race to stay in the U.S. Senate, partially on a platform of checking Trump, should the presumptive nominee win the presidency.
Rick Santorum — Full endorsement
After supporting Rubio’s run when his own bid fell, Santorum endorsed Trump in late May.
Scott Walker — No endorsement
The Wisconsin governor recently told a local Fox affiliate that he’s no sure he will speak at the Convention, not that Trump has invited him.
“It all depends on what the parameters are,” he said, “If I can talk about my concerns about Hillary Clinton, then I’ll probably talk about that.”