The Republican National Committee, in a move designed to box in Donald Trump and prevent him from a third-party run, on Wednesday asked the party’s presidential candidates to sign a loyalty statement vowing not to run as an independent or third-party candidate in the general election. Trump and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus plan to meet Thursday in New York, according to a Trump campaign spokeswoman. Trump has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference where he could make an announcement about the RNC pledge. All summer, Republican leaders have been trying to prevent Trump, the billionaire businessman who has rocketed to the top of GOP polls, from running as an independent candidate if he does not win the Republican nomination.
In the Aug. 6 debate, Trump memorably refused to rule out a third-party run — though he has since signaled a possible change of heart as some state parties are requiring loyalty oaths as a condition of appearing on their state’s primary ballots.
RNC staffers reached out to campaigns requesting that their candidates sign a document pledging loyalty to the party’s eventual nominee, according to campaign officials.
“I [name] 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,” reads the document. “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.”