Article Lead Image

Donald Trump signs legally meaningless GOP pledge not to run as an independent

'I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands.'


Andrew Couts


Posted on Sep 3, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 1:04 am CDT

Donald Trump has changed his mind. 

The 2016 Republican frontrunner signed a pledge on Thursday, swearing—in writing— that he will not run as an independent candidate if he loses the Republican nomination for president.

Trump’s pledge to the Republican National Committee is what you (or at least the Democrats) might call a flip-flop. The first GOP presidential debate last month kicked off with Trump refusing to endorse any candidate on the stage besides himself, sparking a firestorm between Trump and Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who asked the candidates to make the pledge.

The RNC pledge may erase a potential weak spot on the real-estate mogul’s political armor, especially considering Trump has supported Democratic candidates in the past. Or not. Some, like Bloomberg’s Joshua Green, have already begun designing Trump’s political gravestone.

Alas, as you might expect, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has taken to calling Trump out in recent weeks, jumped on the opportunity to kick his opponent in the proverbial shins. 

(Sorry, this embed was not found.)

So, what does the pledge of allegiance to the Republican party actually mean? In short: Nothing much. 

As the Washington Post reports, the pledge is not legally binding, meaning Trump can tear it up, toss it off of one of his skyscrapers, and run as an independent candidate anytime he feels like it. 

Then there’s the fact that Trump remains the GOP frontrunner by 14 points, according to the polls, so what’s the harm? History shows that he’ll likely fall off the throne as more people start paying attention to the race, but Trump remains confident in his destiny—confident enough to sign a piece of paper.

“I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands,” Trump said at event at Trump Tower in New York on Thursday. 

“We will go out and fight hard, and we will win. We will win.”

Illustration by Tiffany Pai

Share this article
*First Published: Sep 3, 2015, 6:58 pm CDT