Republican Donald Trump on Sunday made an about-face, saying he might run as an independent candidate for president in 2016 after all — despite signing the GOP loyalty pledge that he wouldn’t.
Asked on ABC’s “This Week” whether he would consider a third-party run if GOP opponents try “to take you out,” Trump said, “I will see what happens. I have to be treated fairly. If I’m treated fairly, I’m fine.”
The billionaire and former reality show star is leading the race for the GOP nomination for the fourth straight month, with Republican establishment candidates such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio far behind. All the GOP candidates have signed a pledge to support the party’s eventual presidential nominee and forgo independent runs in 2016. Trump announced on Sept. 3 that he had signed the pledge.
He suggested that his lead in the polls, unshaken by disparaging remarks he’s made about ethnic groups or his lack of specifics on foreign policy, has vexed the Republican party.
“They can’t understand, you know, how come an outsider can be doing so well within the party,” Trump said.
His standing in national polls has only solidified since recent Islamic militant attacks in Europe, particularly the Nov. 13 strikes on Paris that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds of others. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for those attacks. The upsurge in violence has put pressure on the candidates from outside government, primarily Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who have little foreign policy or national security experience.