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Trump pledges not to launch independent bid

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump has signed a pledge not to launch an independent bid for the White House should he lose his quest for the GOP nomination. Standing in the opulent lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Trump said he believes the best way for...

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U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

WASHINGTON - Donald Trump has signed a pledge not to launch an independent bid for the White House should he lose his quest for the GOP nomination.

Standing in the opulent lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Trump said he believes the best way for a Republican to win the White House is for Trump himself to secure the party’s nomination and face off directly against a Democrat.
“For that reason, I have signed the pledge,” Trump said, lifting a piece of paper emblazoned with his signature in black ink. It was errantly dated Aug. 3, instead of Sept. 3.
Republican Party officials circulated the pledge to all 17 candidates this week, but the effort was aimed squarely at Trump. The billionaire celebrity was the only top-tier candidate who would not publicly promise not to run as an independent in the general election when asked at the first primary debate last month.
The prospect of Trump funding his own third-party sent shivers down the spines of the GOP establishment, who believe Trump would likely pull voters away from the Republican nominee and hand the victory to Democrats.
Trump said he agreed to endorse the party’s nominee and forego a write-in, third-party or independent candidacy because the Republican Party leaders, specifically Chairman Reince Priebus, had treated him fairly.
“That’s what I’ve wanted,” he said. “I just wanted fairness from the Republican Party.”
Trump met with Priebus privately shortly before the afternoon news conference and handed over the document. He told reporters he “got absolutely nothing” in return for his signature and he has “no intention of changing my mind.”
That promise and the signature is most reassurance party officials can hope for from a famously unpredictable and untraditional candidate. The party’s document does not mention any repercussions if the vow is broken.
After announcing his pledge, Trump went on to demonstrate why his candidacy is such a quandary for the Republican Party. In rapid fire, he fielded a range of questions - offering his thoughts on Kanye West, Tom Brady, Chinese currency, Joe Biden, campaigning in Spanish and his top target this week, Jeb Bush.
Bush is “very low-energy,” Trump said, repeating his favorite slam on the former Florida governor, rival and the man he had just pledged to endorse should Bush win the party’s nomination. Bush is beholden to special interests funding his campaign, Trump accused.
“Every negative ad you see against me is paid for by lobbyists and special interests,” he said.

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