Just In: Trump Refuses to Sign Republican Loyalty Pledge, Defying Debate Requirement

Former President Donald Trump has declared his refusal to sign a pledge indicating his commitment to support the Republican nominee

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Former President Donald Trump has declared his refusal to sign a pledge indicating his commitment to support the Republican nominee if he doesn’t win the GOP presidential primary. This stance defies the requirement for participation in the initial debate slated for later this month.

In an interview on Newsmax, a conservative cable network, Trump questioned the rationale behind signing the pledge, asserting, “Why would I sign it?” He alluded to the existence of certain individuals he would not endorse for the presidential position, but declined to reveal their names, emphasizing that there’s no need to insult them. He did, however, extend commendations to South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy for their positive conduct.

While Trump is slated to announce his participation in the August 23 debate in Milwaukee next week, his refusal to endorse the pledge suggests that he is inclined to follow through on his previous hint of skipping the event. Given his substantial lead in the polls, he has repeatedly questioned the necessity of participating in debates and even hinted at potentially organizing an alternative event.

In response to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s comments, Trump retorted that engaging in a debate when he is already ahead by a significant margin is not an issue of bravery, but rather a matter of intelligence.

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A total of eight candidates have affirmed meeting the requirements to be on the Milwaukee stage, with former Vice President Mike Pence announcing his fulfillment of the donor threshold this week. Candidates are mandated to meet polling and donor criteria outlined by the Republican National Committee: garnering at least 1% in three prominent national polls or a combination of national and early-state polls between July 1 and August 21, along with a minimum of 40,000 donors, including 200 from 20 or more states.

Furthermore, candidates are required to sign a statement pledging their commitment to not participate in any debates unauthorized by the party, encompassing general election debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, as well as pledging their support for the victor of the Republican primary. The pledge also stipulates that candidates must not run independently, as a write-in candidate, or as a third-party nominee.

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Although Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and former Texas Representative Will Hurd have criticized the 2024 pledge, it is only Hurd who definitively confirmed his refusal to sign. However, Hurd has not yet met the polling and fundraising prerequisites for debate attendance and expressed his unwillingness to back Trump, who faces three indictments, if he becomes the eventual nominee.