The ironclad commitment each Republican presidential candidate gave to support the party’s nominee – no matter who that may be – is no more.
Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich explicitly renounced the commitment they’d made last fall, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he’d have a hard time supporting Trump. The comments, which could reshape an already raucous GOP primary race, came during a town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one week ahead of the state’s key primary.
Here are six takeaways from the town hall, which aired on CNN and was moderated by Anderson Cooper:
Backing away from the pledge
Initially designed to stymie the threat of a Trump independent run, the real-estate mogul’s Republican foes have been hamstrung by the signed pledge they all gave to the Republican National Committee in September to back the winner of the party’s nominating contest for months.
That changed Tuesday night, starting with Cruz, who cited Trump’s recent tweets about his wife, Heidi Cruz.
“I’m not in the habit of supporting someone who attacked my wife and attacked my family. I think that is going beyond the line,” he said. “I’m not an easy person to tick off, but when you go after my wife, when you go after my daughters, that does it.”
Cruz, however, didn’t explicitly say he would oppose Trump’s nomination.
So Trump let him off the hook.
He said Cruz looked “tormented” trying to answer Cooper’s “very simple question.”
“I don’t want his support. I don’t need his support. I want him to be comfortable,” Trump said.
For his part, Trump said he was scrapping the pledge altogether, saying he’s “been treated very unfairly” in the contest by the RNC and the party’s establishment.