Donald Trump Won’t Commit to 2024 GOP Nominee If He Looses: It’s a memorable moment from an early debate in the 2015 Republican primaries: The candidates were asked if they would pledge to endorse the Republican nominee for president and that they would promise not to run an independent race against the Republican nominee. Candidates were asked to raise their hand if they would not make that pledge, and only Trump raised his hand.
“I cannot say. I have to respect the person that if it’s not me, the person that wins. If I do win and I’m leading by quite a bit,” Trump said in a debate in August of 2015. “That’s what I want to do. I can totally make the pledge if I’m a nominee. I am discussing it with everybody. But I’m talking about a lot of leverage. We want to win and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican. I want to run as the Republican nominee.”
Later in that cycle, Donald Trump pledged to support the nominee and backed off the pledge later, although since he was himself the nominee, it ended up a moot point.
Now, nearly eight years later, with Trump running again, we’re looking at a repeat of that scenario.
Appearing this week on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Donald Trump was asked if he would support the party’s nominee in 2024.
“It would depend,” Mr. Trump said on the show, adding, “I would give you the same answer I gave in 2016 during the debate. … It would have to depend on who the nominee was.”
How Donald Trump Could Blow Up the GOP in 2024
The comment raised the prospect, as was the case in 2015, of Trump mounting an independent campaign in the general election against whoever the Republican nominee is or possibly actively undermining the GOP candidate on a daily basis without running a campaign himself.
A CNN analysis raised how this could play out.
“It also highlights a needle his potential challengers must thread – how to build their own coalitions without alienating Trump supporters with full-on attacks on the former president,” the network said. “But given the rising debate about Trump’s own standing in the GOP after his election loss in 2020 and a disastrous midterm intervention last year, it also raises the question of whether the twice-impeached former commander-in-chief is overestimating his own level of support.”
Also, in the interview with Hewitt, Trump spoke about former South Carolina governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who is expected to become the next candidate to entire the Republican race.
“She’s a very ambitious person. She just couldn’t stay in a seat. I said, ‘You know what, Nikki, if you want to run, you go ahead and run,’” Trump said of his former ambassador. Haley had said in 2021 that she would not run for president if Trump ran again.
Another former member of Trump’s administration, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is also expected to run for president. And Donald Trump commented on him as well in the Hewitt interview.
“I haven’t seen the book yet. I haven’t read it, though I heard he was generally nice. … He took a little bit more credit than he should, but that’s OK with me,” Trump said of Pompeo. “We did a great job. I got along very well with Mike.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to get in the race later this spring, with former Vice President Mike Pence also seen as a potential candidate for the White House.
“Trump remains the only declared GOP candidate and this early shadowboxing comes a year before ballots are cast in the only true test of political viability,” CNN said. “But the first stirrings of the Republican race are important because they will help shape what is already certain to be a turbulent campaign that, given the dominance of election denialism in the GOP’s grassroots, could be another election that tests US democracy.”
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.