Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRNC chairman defends Trump linking Cruz’s dad to JFK assassin CNN suspends Donna Brazile as she takes DNC role Carson EXCLUSIVE: Trump uniquely suited to this American moment MORE is again raising the possibility that he might run for president as a third-party candidate, suggesting that the Republican Party is not meeting its end of their loyalty "deal".
Trump resurfaces idea of third-party run
Responding to reports that independent super-PACs are planning attack ads against his candidacy, the billionaire Republican front-runner tweeted on Monday:
Asked what "reports" Trump was referring to, his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said in a telephone interview that it was a reference to plans by a super-PAC supporting Ohio Gov. John Kasich to run a $2.5 million campaign against Trump.
Trump's tweet excavates a problem that the Republican National Committee (RNC) thought it had buried three months ago.
Republican officials feared earlier in the year that Trump would run as an Independent candidate in the general election, which could vacuum votes away from the Republican nominee and ultimately hand the White House to Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump, Clinton intelligence briefings likely to start next week Kaine: GOP will keep House majority Clinton: Benghazi security was ‘not my ball to carry’ MORE.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus convinced Trump to sign a loyalty pledge that he would support the party's eventual nominee, and when the front-runner did so, on Sep. 3, the party thought the issue was over.
Trump said at the time: "I see no circumstances in which I would tear up that pledge."
Asked what Trump meant by his tweet Monday, Lewandowski said: "He wants to be treated fairly."
"But if Republicans are going to go attack him then maybe he doesn't think he's being treated fairly," he added.
Lewandowski did not explain how Trump is equating the super-PAC's plans to being treated fairly by the national committee, which has nothing to do with the spending.
It is the second time in two days that Trump has publicly toyed with abandoning the pledge and running as an independent.
Interviewing Trump on ABC's "This Week" program Sunday, host George Stephanopoulos asked the businessman whether he would launch a third-party bid amid news that GOP operatives are planning to launch an anti-Trump “guerilla campaign.”
“You know, when I did this, I said I have to be treated fairly,” Trump told Stephanopoulos. “If I’m treated fairly, I’m fine. All I want to do is a level playing field.”
Trump first raised the possibility of a third-party candidacy in an exclusive interview with The Hill in July, saying the RNC “has not been supportive.”
Pressed on whether he would run as a third-party candidate if he fails to clinch the GOP nomination, Trump told The Hill that “so many people want me to, if I don’t win.”
Bradford Richardson contributed reporting.