Real estate mogul and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump says he isn’t committed yet to supporting the eventual Republican nominee should he not emerge as the winner, but that his nomination would present the best opportunity to beat the Democrats and, potentially, former Secretary of State and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“I have to see who wins,” he said when asked Thursday evening on Fox News’ “Hannity” program if he’d support the eventual GOP nominee. “I mean, look, I’m not a politician. You know, every politician, immediately you’re supposed to say, ‘Oh, absolutely, absolutely.’ I have to see who wins.”
He said people have approached him about an independent run, but said that “our best chance of defeating the Democrats and getting this country going again is if I win the Republican nomination. I will beat Hillary Clinton.”
Many of the other GOP candidates have condemned or distanced themselves from Mr. Trump’s recent comments about Mexico and illegal immigrants. In a separate interview this week, CNN’s Anderson Cooper read Mr. Trump some of the criticism he’s gotten from individual candidates and asked him to respond.
“Bush is weak on immigration — forget about his stance on Common Core, which is a total disaster — he’s very weak on immigration,” Mr. Trump said of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mr. Trump said, “is somebody who is extremely weak on immigration. He all of a sudden toughens his stance because his poll numbers went down. If he ever got elected, you would have people flowing across the border.”
Mr. Trump said he “could be much more offensive” to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, “but the fact is he was governor of Texas. The border’s a disaster. He could have done much more as governor of Texas to make the border strong.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mr. Trump said, has always “been very nice to me, but, you know, he wants to bomb everybody. All I know is every time I watch Lindsey Graham, he wants to bomb everybody.”
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina “came out very weak” on immigration, and “lost her job at Hewlett-Packard — viciously was fired. Viciously,” he said. “She then ran for the Senate in California against Barbara Boxer — got killed in a landslide.”
Mr. Trump said he has “great respect” for the fact that Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas “had the courage to back me up and to say that what I’m saying is right.”
He also pointed out that retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has backed him up.
He called New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a friend, but said: “I’ve told this to Chris, I’ve told it to his people: He missed his time.”
Asked about Sen. Bernie Sanders the Vermont Independent who has emerged as one of Mrs. Clinton’s main challengers on the Democratic side Mr. Trump said: “I think he’s a character.”
“I mean, he’s doing well. … I’m not sure Hillary’s [going to] get the nomination,” he said. “You know, if you go back to pre-Obama when nobody ever heard of Obama, Hillary had the same kind of power she did now. It was sort of almost a foregone conclusion — she was going to be running for president on the Democratic line, and all of a sudden, Obama came along and beat her. Well, now it’s the same thing.”