Former US President Donald Trump has vowed not to pledge to support the Republican party’s eventual 2024 nominee – a requirement in order to participate in the first GOP presidential primary debate, which he still hasn’t committed to attending.
“I wouldn’t sign the pledge. Why would I sign a pledge? There are people on there that I wouldn’t have. I wouldn’t have certain people as, you know, somebody that I’d endorse,” Trump, 77, told Newsmax host Eric Bolling during an interview on Wednesday, August 9.
“I can name three or four people that I wouldn’t support for president. So right there, there’s a problem,” Trump said of the Republican National Committee’s loyalty pledge requirement.
Signing the “Beat Biden pledge” is a requirement that has been put in place by Republican party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in an effort to prevent intra-party fighting during the primaries and general election.
Candidates who have met the Republican National Committee’s polling and fundraising requirements needed to participate in the Aug. 23 debate in Milwaukee have until 48 hours before the debate to sign the pledge.
The pledge asks candidates to “affirm” that if they do not win the 2024 Republican nomination for president, they will “honor the will of the primary voters and support the nominee in order to save our country and beat Joe Biden” and not attempt to mount a third-party or write-in campaign.
This week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy turned in their signed pledges to the RNC.
Trump told Bolling that he’s “already decided” whether or not to participate in the Milwaukee debate and will be “announcing something next week.”
The 2024 GOP presidential primary frontrunner, however, reiterated that he doesn’t see any “upside” to participating.
“When you’re 75%, 78%, 80% [support in the polls] and other guys are at 0%, 1%, 2% ,3%, you do say, what’s the upside? Am I gonna go up one point? But they could go up,” Trump said.
“Somebody like Asa Hutchinson, who’s polling at zero, will ask me nasty questions. Somebody like Chris Christie, who’s falling at 1%, he’s going to ask me nasty questions and others too,” he added.
The former president, who has been indicted on criminal charges three times since leaving office, dismissed accusations that he is afraid of debating his 2024 rivals.
“They’ll say, ‘Oh, he doesn’t have the guts. He doesn’t have the guts.’ I mean, I did CNN town hall. That was about as hostile as you can do. I hear I did very well because you know, I did so well that they fired the head of CNN over that. But no, it’s not a question of guts. It’s a question of intelligence,” Trump argued, noting that he hasn’t “totally ruled it out” and that he enjoys debates.
“I’ve actually gotten very good marks on debating talents, but you want to be, you know, they want a smart president. They want somebody that’s going to be smart. So we have to do the smart thing,” the former president added.