Former President Trump said he is refusing to sign a loyalty pledge to the Republican Party, raising doubts about whether he will be debating fellow GOP candidates.
Trump dismissed the idea of making the pledge in an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday, telling “Eric Bolling The Balance” that the gesture would not be worth it.
“I wouldn’t sign the pledge,” Trump said. “Why would I sign a pledge if there are people on there that I wouldn’t have?”
“I wouldn’t have certain people as, you know, somebody that I endorse. So they want you to sign a pledge,” the former president said of the candidate field. “I can name three or four people that I wouldn’t support for president. So right there, there’s a problem right there. There’s a problem.”
Trump took particular issue with the low bar for entry into the Republican debate regarding polling percentage and national support.
The former president said he would not want to give unpopular candidates with only a percentage of the vote a chance to say “nasty” things about him.
“You look at the debate, and they want you to debate, but you’re debating — it’s not really fair — somebody like Asa Hutchinson, who’s polling at zero percent, will ask me nasty questions,” Trump said. “Somebody like Chris Christie is falling at 1%, and he’s going to ask me nasty questions and others, too.”
Trump also cited decisions by previous Republican Presidents Reagan and Nixon to skip primary debates.
“Why would you do that when you’re leading by so much?” Trump asked. “Ronald Reagan didn’t do it. Nixon didn’t do it. Many people didn’t do it.”
He concluded, “But I’m going to look at it very seriously. I’d like to do it. 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.”