Donald Trump will be loyal to Republican Party

Caving to intense Republican lobbying, presidential candidate Donald Trump has ruled out an independent White House bid and has vowed to support whomever wins the party’s nomination — a U-turn eased by his position at the front of the field.

The decision follows weeks of behind-the-scenes efforts by Republican leaders to avert an independent campaign by Trump, ever since last month’s opening debate, when he refused to promise to back the opposition party’s eventual nominee.

A third-party bid by Trump, or by any prominent conservative, could doom Republican efforts in 2016. “I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands,” Trump said.

The 69-year-old billionaire, who announced his decision after meeting with Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, said he got “absolutely nothing” for pledging his loyalty “other than the assurance that I’ll be treated fairly.”

Priebus didn’t mention Trump by name, but declared his pride that all major GOP {Republican party} candidates had pledged to support the eventual nominee. He then took a swipe at the Democratic front-runner. “We have the largest, most diverse field in the history of either party,” he said. “Any candidate would be a better president than Hillary Clinton and offer the new direction Americans want.”

To the dismay of GOP leaders, Trump is the overwhelming leader in a crowded field, despite repeatedly insulting key constituencies and offering few details about his policies. The reality-television star has described Mexican immigrants as rapists, questioned Senator John McCain’s war-hero status and insulted a popular Fox News host. His refusal during the party’s first debate to pledge his support for the primary campaign winner further roiled the GOP.

The document Trump signed is a pledge, not a contract. Even if it were legally binding, Trump’s history in contract law is suspect. When a lender, Boston Safe Deposit & Trust, refused to extend the mortgage on his Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, he ceased making loan payments until the bank capitulated in 1992.

In his book, The Art of the Comeback, Trump proudly recounted forcing his unpaid lenders to choose between fighting him in bankruptcy court or cutting him an additional $65m cheque. Afraid of losing their jobs, the bankers folded, Trump said.

Trump has insisted he will make good on his commitment to Republicans. “I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge,” he said. If not for Trump, the need for a loyalty oath probably wouldn’t exist. There were no doubts about the intentions of the GOP’s other major presidential contenders.

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