Trump rules out third-party bid 'no matter what'

Donald TrumpDonald TrumpClinton to Trump supporters: 'Don’t look for easy answers' Trump hires Rand Paul's former digital director: report Lewandowski publisher backs out of million-dollar book deal: report MORE says he won't run for president as a third-party candidate "no matter what" despite past flirtations with an independent bid.

Trump said he was "totally committed to the Republican party" during Tuesday night's GOP debate and repeated that vow in an interview immediately afterward.

"When they asked it, I did not hesitate. I decided to just say, 'Yes, I'm a Republican. I'm not going to be doing a third-party [campaign],' " he told CNN's Chris Cuomo.

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"No matter what," he added when pressed.

The issue first came up during the debate when moderator Hugh Hewitt asked Trump whether he was "ready to reassure Republicans that you will run as a Republican and abide by the decision of the Republicans" amid concerns that an independent bid would sink the GOP's chances of winning the presidency.

"I am, I really am," Trump said.

"I've gained great respect for the Republican leadership. I've gained great respect for many — I would even say all in different forms — of the people on the stage."

Trump added that he's "totally committed" to the GOP and "honored to be the front-runner."

"I will do everything in my power to beat Hillary Clinton," he said. 

Trump has long threatened a launch a third-party bid if he believes he is being treated unfairly. As recently as last week, he tweeted about a poll that showed the majority of his supporters would back him if he broke from the party. 

Ben Carson also floated leaving the party last week after a Washington Post story noted that GOP leaders had discussed contingency plans for a brokered convention, seen as a potential swipe at the outsider candidates.

He also softened his rhetoric in response to a similar question from Hewitt.

"The statement that I made last week that I would leave the party was contingent upon whether in fact the party acts like they have in the past, with a lot of subterfuge and dishonesty, or like they are going to act now because I spoke to [Republican National Committee Chairman] Reince Priebus," Carson said.

Updated at 11:27 p.m.

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