— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2015
One of the biggest questions in the Republican nomination race has been whether or not Donald Trump would launch an independent presidential run should he fail to secure the Republican nomination. The Donald has openly floated a run and rarely got specific than saying he would do so if he was not “treated fairly.” The fairness has since been clarified by Trump and others to mean that he wants to be treated like any other candidate, no different. In essence, the threat was a bargaining chip. If party leaders kept him off the ballot, he could threaten the nuclear option. The threat has been termed the nuclear option because a third party Trump run would almost certainly dash Republicans’ chances for the White House with him and the nominee splitting the vote.
In the past few days, reports indicated that the RNC was reaching to out to campaigns with a loyalty pledge and gauge response. On Thursday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus personally went to Trump Towers for a fifteen minute meeting with Donald Trump. The purpose of the meeting was to get Trump to sign the loyalty pledge and rule out a third party run. Trump did end up signing the pledge as witnessed by Priebus.
After Priebus left, Trump held a press conference where he officially announced his signing.
The RNC has been getting other candidates to sign the document as well. Chris Christie signed it on Fox News after initially refusing to sign it on CNN.
Jeb Bush responded to Trump’s signing with a tweet on Twitter saying that he has “voted Republican since 1972.” This is also a reference to Trump’s past record where he has supported Democrats. Of note, Bush says 1972, but he has been eligible to vote since 1971. Bush was raised in Texas, but attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.