The loyalty pledge is aimed squarely at Donald Trump.
Responding to growing pressure from party donors and officials to dissuade Donald Trump from mounting an independent campaign for president, the Republican National Committee (RNC) on Wednesday asked each of the party’s presidential candidates to sign a statement vowing not to run as a third-party candidate.
With little warning, committee officials called and emailed campaign representatives requesting that they put in writing what every candidate, except for Trump, has already pledged to do.
“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 document, on RNC letterhead, states. “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.”
The document, first disclosed by Politico, was emailed to the campaigns under the subject line “pledge” and includes a space for the candidates to sign and for the RNC’s chairman, Reince Priebus, to witness.
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That there is a notarylike space for Priebus suggests he is in conversations with Trump about signing the pledge. Also lending credence to that possibility, one campaign said the RNC told it that it would not be released “unless all 17 signed it.” There are 17 major candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination, and only Trump has refused to pledge to support the party’s nominee next year.
An RNC official did not reply to a request for comment.
The Trump campaign did not respond to questions about the pledge Wednesday, although Priebus is set to meet privately with Trump on Thursday in New York City shortly before Trump addresses reporters.