NEW YORK, Sept. 3 (UPI) — Donald Trump has agreed to meet with the Republican National Committee on Thursday, a day after the party began asking all Republican presidential candidates to sign a loyalty pledge to avert a third-party bid.
All indications are that Trump will sign the pledge of support to the GOP nominee for the 2016 election if he loses and not run as an independent. However, Trump has a history of being unpredictable so sources familiar with the discussions said no one can be exactly sure of the outcome.
Trump spokesman Hope Hicks announced he has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference after the meeting with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, where Trump may make an announcement about the pledge. Even if Trump does sign the pledge, it is not legally binding.
The billionaire businessman has long threatened to launch an independent candidacy if he does not win the Republican nomination, making GOP leaders nervous about the future of a Republican win in the bid for the White House. At the Obama Aug. 6 debate, Trump was the only candidate out of the 17 who was unwilling to support the eventual nominee or rule out a third-party bid.
In recent days, the RNC has been quietly circulating a loyalty pledge to the Republican presidential candidates. It was emailed to each candidate and includes space for the candidate to sign and for Priebus to witness:
“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. 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.”
Trump has been a thorn in the side of the Republican party since early in his candidacy. His incendiary remarks about Mexicans and immigration alarmed Republicans who feared he would alienate the fast-growing demographic. But since then, and after disparaging remarks on numerous topics, he has dominated the political rhetoric and is leading in some polls.