Former President Donald Trump made it clear on Wednesday that he will not be signing a pledge to support the Republican nominee if he loses the GOP presidential primary. This decision goes against the requirement for appearing in the first debate later this month.
In an interview on the conservative cable network Newsmax, Trump questioned the need for him to sign the pledge, stating, "Why would I sign it? I can name three or four people that I wouldn't support for president. So right there, there's a problem."
Although he did not reveal the names of the candidates he wouldn't support in order to avoid insulting them, Trump did commend South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy for their conduct, mentioning that they "have been very nice."
While Trump will announce next week whether or not he plans to participate in the upcoming debate scheduled for August 23 in Milwaukee, his refusal to sign the pledge implies his intention to follow through on his threat to skip the event. Trump has repeatedly expressed his doubts about the necessity of debating his rivals, given his significant lead in the polls. He has even suggested the possibility of organizing an alternative event.
Moreover, Trump pushed back against former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's taunting remarks, emphasizing that participating in a debate holds no upside for him, as he is already leading by a wide margin. He iterated, "It's not a question of guts. It's a question of intelligence."
Republican Candidates Vying for the 2024 Presidential Nomination
Eight candidates have successfully met the qualifications to grace the stage in Milwaukee, as they vie for the Republican presidential nomination. Former Vice President Mike Pence made an announcement this week, confirming that he has secured enough donors to meet the requirements.
In order to be considered for the nomination, candidates must satisfy both polling and donor requirements set by the Republican National Committee. These requirements include achieving at least 1% in three high-quality national polls or a mix of national and early-state polls, between July 1 and August 21. Candidates must also gather a minimum of 40,000 donors, with at least 200 coming from 20 or more states.
Additionally, candidates are expected to sign a statement pledging their commitment to only participating in debates sanctioned by the party. This includes the general election debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Furthermore, candidates are expected to pledge their support to the eventual Republican primary winner.
According to a copy posted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, the pledge states: “I affirm that if I do not win the 2024 Republican nomination for President of the United States, I will honor the will of the primary voters and support the nominee in order to save our country and beat Joe Biden.” Candidates are also prohibited from running as an independent, write-in candidate or third-party nominee.
Notably, some candidates, such as Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, have criticized the pledge. Hutchinson, a staunch critic of former President Donald Trump, voices his concerns regarding its implications.
Thus far, only former Texas Representative Will Hurd has definitively declared that he will not sign the 2024 pledge. However, it should be noted that Hurd has not yet met the polling and fundraising thresholds required to participate in the debates. As it stands, Hurd states that he will not support Trump if he becomes the eventual nominee, citing Trump's three indictments.