- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 3, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will sign a loyalty pledge to the GOP, ruling out a third-party bid, officials close to the Republican National Committee said.

Mr. Trump said that while a third-party White House run can be done, it’s a tougher, riskier route and acknowledged that such a move would likely give the Democratic party a leg up in the 2016 presidential contest.

Mr. Trump said he’s held out the possibility of a third-party run “because if I weren’t treated well, and you know what happens within certain parties, including the Republican party, I wanted to be treated not even well — I wanted to be treated fairly.”

“And so I held that out, and … I think it’s been quite effective,” Mr. Trump said on “The John Fredericks” show, a Virginia-based radio show. “But I have been treated very well, and I’m meeting with [Republican National Committee Chairman] Reince Priebus today, and we’re going to see whether or not I do that.”

Republican presidential candidates are being asked to sign a pledge that they will support the eventual GOP nominee and won’t launch a third-party or independent run for the White House.

“Look, my number one thing is to win, and the best way to win would be to win as a Republican. I think you agree with that, John. You know the third-party thing is a tough thing,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s a tough route. And I am a believer that it can be done, but it’s a tougher route and it’s a riskier route.”

“And certainly … it would give Hillary or whoever’s going to be running on the other side a better shot. Let’s face it — they would love it,” he said.

Mr. Trump has a media availability scheduled for 2 p.m. in New York City. A spokesman for Mr. Trump refused to say Thursday morning whether he will sign a pledge stating that he will not make a third-party run.

“I think you probably like that idea better than going the independent route, don’t you? How do you feel about it?” Mr. Trump asked Mr. Fredericks.

Mr. Fredericks said that on his show, pro-Trump calls are running “25 to 1.”

“That’s why I predicted you were going to win immediately,” Mr. Fredericks said. “I just talk to real people every day. I’m not part of the elites. And that’s what I’ve been seeing. People want the opportunity to see you on the ballot, and I think they would like you to continue to run as a Republican.”

Mr. Trump said someone told him that if he signed the pledge, his popularity in the primary among Republicans would go up.

“Because there are some that are a little bit upset that I wouldn’t want to do that and they’re holding back,” he said. “And I don’t know if that’s true, ‘cause I’ll sort of take my numbers the way they are, John, right?”

“But there are those that say you go up if you do, and I’m not doing it for that. I’m doing it for — I mean, we’re going to see what happens. We have a meeting, but certainly it would be advantageous to do it that way, and I think our best chance for victory is that way, but I’m going to have to hear the chairman out,” Mr. Trump said.

• Seth McLaughlin contributed to this article.

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