Did you watch Tuesday night’s CNN town hall, hosted by Anderson Cooper, with the remaining Republican candidates for the GOP nomination? If so, you learned that Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich have each decided to forsake their earlier commitments to support the eventual Republican nominee, who will be anointed in July.
For those who have been following the events of this year’s campaign, it is clear that when Cruz and Kasich say they will no longer honor the pledge, that declaration particularly applies to Donald Trump. In the case of Trump, it is now likely that he will not support any other nominee besides him; Trump has not been shy about voicing his opinion that he’s been the victim of a strategic, concerted effort to deprive him of a nomination that would otherwise easily be his if the campaign was left to play out purely by virtue of voter preference.
Town hall host Anderson Cooper queried each of the candidates as to their feelings on honoring the pledge now, after such a prickly campaign…and I would say that’s putting it nicely…has ensued. John Kasich said flatly that, “All of us shouldn’t even have answered that question.” Trump, when asked if he would still pledge to support the eventual nominee, responded, “No, I don’t anymore.” Trump said that he’s “been treated very unfairly” by the Republican National Committee and other high-profile, so-called “establishment” elements within the party. The current frontrunner for the nomination also implied that he was further justified in walking away from the previous commitment by virtue of the fact that his chief rival, Ted Cruz, had basically said during the same town hall that HE would no longer the pledge. Trump was referring to Cruz’s earlier response to the pledge question, when he told Cooper that, “I’m not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and family…I think nominating Donald Trump would be an absolute trainwreck…”
I have written previously that the pledge has long been moot since the campaign among the GOP contenders has become so acrimonious, and each has said things about his rivals that go well beyond the “garden variety” sorts of criticisms considered acceptable during primary season. The plain fact is that not only would Ted Cruz, for example, have zero credibility in campaigning for Donald Trump after all that has transpired, but that what has been said by the Republican candidates about one another up to this point already provides the eventual Democratic Party nominee with terrific ammunition during the general election campaign.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large