WASHINGTON — GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s roller-coaster week took another wild turn yesterday when the candidate refused to rule out a third-party run despite a Republican Party leader’s warnings about the consequences of backing out of the unity pledge.
“It’s not a question of win or lose,” Trump told Fox News’ Chris Wallace yesterday, keeping open the option of running as an independent candidate should he not win the Republican nomination.
“It’s a question of treatment,” Trump said, referring to the Republican National Committee.
But with all three GOP candidates now going soft on their commitments to back the primary winner, RNC chairman Reince Priebus took to the Sunday talk shows to deliver a thinly veiled threat that they risk losing access to RNC databases and other services for the remainder of the primary and into the convention.
“In exchange for getting stuff from the national party, we ask, ‘Are you willing to support the nominee?’ and they say ‘Yes’ and they sign a document,” Priebus told Wallace.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Priebus admonished: “Candidates have to watch their mouth; they have to watch their tone and their tenor.”
Trump also seemed to walk back quotes published in a News York Times article yesterday, where he expressed regret about the tone of his campaign and called his decision to retweet a negative message about U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, “a mistake.”
But when Trump was asked yesterday by Wallace about recent polls showing his sinking favorability numbers among women after his comments on abortion and his support for his campaign manager charged with assaulting a female reporter, Trump downplayed his contrition.
“I think I’m doing very well,” Trump said, adding dismissively, “Was this my best week? I guess not. I think I could have done without the retweet, etcetera, etcetera.”
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