Presidential races

After meeting, harsh rhetoric from Trump, Priebus

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Just days after GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump met with Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus behind closed doors, rhetoric was harsh Sunday as Trump again raised the possibility of a third-party run and Priebus warned that candidates need to watch what they say.

{mosads}Trump, on “Fox News Sunday,” said he wouldn’t rule out a run as a third-party candidate if he doesn’t get the GOP nomination.

“It’s not a question of win or lose; it’s a question of treatment,” Trump said. “I’m by far the front-runner. I want to run as a Republican. … [But] I’m going to have to see how I was treated.”

Following the hourlong meeting Thursday between Priebus and Trump, the front-runner tweeted that it was a “nice meeting” and said he was excited to unite the party.

“Looking forward to bringing the Party together — and it will happen,” he wrote.

RNC spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement after the meeting that Trump and the chairman had a “productive conversation about the state of the race.”

She also said Priebus has been communicating with all of the candidates and their campaigns.

The meeting came just days after Trump backed out of a pledge to support whoever the Republican nominee is. Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Gov. John Kasich (Ohio) also walked back from that pledge in the past week.

On Sunday, Priebus said he’s confident that all of the candidates will support the eventual nominee — whoever that is.

“I really do believe this is posturing, and I know posturing can have an effect,” Priebus said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace.

“I personally think these folks are posturing, and I think they will be loyal to the party and want to be loyal to the party.”

Priebus also warned Sunday that Trump’s talk about an independent bid could make it more difficult for him to secure the nomination.

“Those kinds of comments, I think, have consequences,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“And so, when you make those kinds of comments, and you want people to fall in line for you, it makes it more difficult.”

He compared the presidential race to wanting to head any group, saying if you’re running for president of the Kiwanis Club or the Boy Scouts and you say “you don’t know if you like the Kiwanis or the Boy Scouts,” then that makes your “challenge even greater.”

“It’s not different for the Republican Party,” he said Sunday.

But Trump didn’t seem to budge with his statements, saying he’s concerned that if he doesn’t secure the nomination ahead of the convention, the Republican Party might try to “steal” it from him.

“Nothing can get stolen from anyone,” Priebus said in answer to that accusation. “We have rules in place that if someone — if a candidate gets to 1,237 delegates, those delegates are bound. They will vote that way on the floor, and if they don’t vote that way on the floor, which they will, but if they don’t, the secretary will read the vote as if they were bound regardless.”

He said it won’t be a mystery who has the majority of delegates heading into the Republican National Convention in July. 

Priebus cautioned the candidates to be careful of what they say.

“Candidates have to watch their mouth; they have to watch their tone and their tenor,” he said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“The only way you can be the party of the open door is if you keep that in mind.”

The RNC chairman said it’s his job to make sure all of the candidates are putting their best foot forward, and he said he’s communicated that message to all of the Republicans running. He added that no one knows who the nominee is going to be but said it’s “our job to be fair.”

And even as Trump maintains his lead in the delegate count, Priebus said he doesn’t know if Trump is the strongest candidate.

“Listen, I don’t worry about who is the strongest candidate,” Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“Obviously, we have our own conversations here. But the fact is is that we’re here, prepared to support whoever the eventual nominee is, with the biggest, best Republican National Committee that we’ve ever put together.”

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Reince Priebus Republican National Committee Ted Cruz
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