Trump hints against a third-party run
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Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report MORE is hinting that he won't run as a third-party presidential candidate if he fails to win the Republican nomination.

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The business mogul has done surprisingly well in early primary polling, and many Republicans have voiced concerns that he might run as an independent if he doesn't win the GOP nod — an option he hasn't ruled out in recent weeks.

But Trump, in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper broadcast Sunday, said such a run would only benefit the Democrats, suggesting he won't go that route.

"Everybody asks me to do it. … And I think … I'd get a lot of votes," he said. "[But] the best way of defeating the Democrats, and probably Hillary — I think it's going to be Hillary — [is] to run as a Republican.

"If I do the third party thing it would be I think very bad for the Republicans," he added. "I think it would be very bad in terms of beating the Democrats. And we have to win."

Trump's campaign, initially viewed as a self-promotion, has taken on a new seriousness with his rise in the early polls. A new national survey from Reuters-Ipsos puts Trump, along with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, at the top of the GOP field.

But the campaign has not been without controversy after he launched his bid with a speech charactering most Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. The remarks have put national GOP leaders in the tough position of trying to disown the message without alienating the conservative voters drawn to it.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, has privately urged Trump to tone down the rhetoric. And a number of Republicans are warning that anything but a full-throated denouncement of the comments will hurt the Republican brand.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), another 2016 presidential hopeful, said Trump is "a wrecking ball" for the GOP.

"If we don't reject this way of thinking — clearly, without any ambiguity — we'll have lost our way, [and] we'll have lost the moral authority, in my view, to govern this great nation," Graham said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

The controversy has also led a number of high-profile businesses to sever ties with Trump and his products, including Macy's, NASCAR and NBCUniversal.

Through it all, Trump has been unapologetic, telling CNN that the controversy has hurt him economically, but it's worth the losses to trumpet his message.

"It is a lot of money. But, fortunately, I am very rich," he said. "It doesn't matter to me."

Trump also ruled himself out as a possible vice presidential candidate.

"It's a phenomenal position, and I think it's a very powerful position," he told Cooper.

"[But] it's not for me. I love what I'm doing. I would rather be doing this."