Surging Donald Trump signs Republican loyalty pledge

Washington, Sep 4 (IANS) To the relief of the Republican establishment, the party’s presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has signed a pledge to support the eventual party nominee and promising not to make an independent or third-party run.

“I have signed the pledge,” the real estate mogul declared Thursday waving an agreement requested by the Republican National Committee, at a packed news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Trump who had caused a degree of nervousness in the party establishment by his refusal to make that very pledge at the first Republican presidential debate on Fox News last month did so after meeting privately with RNC chairman Reince Priebus.

Trump said he had decided to sign the pledge because the Republican Party in recent months has been “extremely fair” to him.

“The RNC has been absolutely terrific over the last two month period and as you know, that’s what I’ve wanted,” Trump said. “I don’t want to be treated any differently.”

Asked what he got in return for signing the paper, Trump responded:

“assurance that I will be treated fairly.”

Analysts differed on the impact of the pledge on the Trump phenomenon.

CNN suggested that while calming the nerves of establishment Republicans it could also invite backlash from some of the bombastic candidate’s die-hard supporters.

The New York Times, on the other hand, said Trump’s promise not to make a third-party run may be less a concession than a bid to raise his standing even higher among Republicans.

After the Trump press conference, establishment favourite Jeb Bush, who in recent weeks has publicly clashed with Trump, tweeted a tongue-in-cheek version of the pledge that said, “Voted Republican since 1972.”

Another Republican presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina former HP CEO, wondered just how enforceable a loyalty pledge is.

“You’re right, it’s unenforceable,” she told CNN. “It is, more than anything else, your word.”

Trump also received some advise from South Carolina’s Indian-American governor Nikki Haley not to “get mad” at his critics.

“Every time someone criticizes him, he goes and makes a political attack back,” Haley said at National Press Club in Washington Wednesday.

“That is not who we are as Republicans. That’s not what we do. That not what I want my South Carolinians to do.”

Meanwhile, Trump is expanding his strong lead over the other Republican candidates nationally, according to a new poll, but neurosurgeon Ben Carson is also posting a big jump in support.

In the first national Monmouth University poll out since the first Republican presidential debate, released Thursday, the real estate mogul registered 30 percent support, up 4 points from a poll taken just before the debate.

But Carson posted the biggest gain since August, jumping 13 points to second place with 18 percent support.

Bush fell out of second place, dropping from 12 percent support in August to 8 percent now, to tie for third place with Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

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