By Robert Costa,
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump signed a pledge Thursday to support the Republican nominee in next year’s general election, effectively ruling out a third-party or independent run.
The bustling scene at Trump Tower in New York, attended by a crowd of reporters and television cameras, was more political theater than the marking of a formal pact, since Trump is under no legal obligation to abide by the political document.
But the promise, which Trump has long avoided making, does bring him closer to a party whose rank-and-file activists he has thrilled this summer and whose leadership has at times viewed his rapid ascent with alarm — especially the prospect of an outside bid that could siphon away votes from the eventual standard-bearer.
By bringing Trump more fully into the party’s tent, Republicans attain reassurance about the billionaire’s intentions, as well as possible fallout from working closely with the unpredictable and sharp-tongued political figure, who has angered Hispanic leaders for his controversial comments on illegal immigration.
Trump made the announcement at an afternoon news conference after meeting with the loyalty statement’s author, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, whose relationship with the mogul has been cordial but delicate since Trump entered the 2016 race.
[The Fix: Why Trump doesn’t have to honor GOP loyalty pledge]
“I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands,” Trump said as he was surrounded by backers holding “TRUMP” posters next to his eponymous skyscraper’s steep elevators. He held up the single sheet of paper with his name scribbled in thick black marker. “We will go out and fight hard, and we will win. We will win,” he said.
Trump added that he sees “no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge . . . I have no intention of changing my mind.”
Trump’s latest embrace of the Republican Party is a conundrum not only for the RNC, but for Trump’s rivals. Many of them are pleased that the businessman’s third-party threat has for the moment been diminished, but they know that urging him to do so also pressures them to make the same oath, pledging to back whoever wins the nomination, even Trump.
Former Florida governor …Read More