Donald Trump Won’t Say If He’ll Support the Republican Nominee—Unless It’s Him


It took just a few minutes for the first GOP 2016 debate to get testy. Fox News’ Bret Baier started off the night by asking the 10 Republicans on the main-stage event whether they would pledge to support whoever wins the Republican nomination and guarantee that they wouldn’t run an independent bid next fall.

Everyone knew the answer in advance. When Wallace asked the candidates to raise their hand if they wouldn’t take that pledge, current frontrunner Donald Trump—who has previously said he would consider a third-party presidential bid if he lost the GOP nomination—predictably raised his hand. “I cannot say I have to respect the person if it’s not me,” Trump said.

“I want to run as the Republican nominee,” he continued, saying he wouldn’t run as an independent—just so long as he’s the one who wins the nomination, an outcome that he sees as a foregone conclusion.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) quickly pounced. “He buys and sells politicians of all stripes,” Paul jumped in, noting Trump’s past donations to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.

The moderators were teed up to put Trump in the hot seat from the start. Soon after that first question, Fox’s Megyn Kelly questioned Trump on whether he could run against Hillary Clinton in the general election given his litany of disparaging comments against women. “It was only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump tried to interrupt Kelly, earning loud applause from the crowd in Cleveland. And even then, it was all just “fun” and “kidding,” in Trump’s assessment. “I don’t have time for total political correctness,” Trump said. “To be honest with you, this country doesn’t either.”

Keep doing you, Donald.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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