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Priebus: Candidates Should ‘Pledge’ Not to Run Third Party

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said that he thinks “our candidates should pledge not to run as a third party candidate” but that he doesn’t fear anyone, including Donald Trump, will do so on Monday’s broadcast of NBC’s “Today.”

Priebus said in response to a question of whether he fears Trump running as an Independent and has to “tiptoe” around Trump to make sure he doesn’t run as a third party candidate stated, “No, I don’t think so. … My job is not to call balls and strikes, but to treat everyone respectfully and fairly. But certainly I think our candidates should pledge not to run as a third party candidate. I don’t see that happening. I think everyone understands that, if Hillary Clinton’s going to get beat, she’s going to get beat by a Republican. And most people that run for president run to win. And if our candidates want to win, then they’ll have to run as a Republican. But, I don’t fear that. I think you’ve even seen Donald Trump walk that back over the last few days as well.”

Earlier, Priebus said of Trump’s rising poll numbers, that we’re still “very early” in the process, and that Trump is “speaking out to people that are really frustrated with Washington, frustrated, I think in many cases with both parties. And so, I think there’s an element of that. In fact, there’s an element of that in both parties. I think you see Bernie Sanders at 35% on the Democrat side, and you know, quite frankly, with 16 candidates and 16 choices, I think that you’re going to see a lot of people surge and move ahead and move behind. I think even Donald Trump had recognized that. And so, it’s going to be a long process.”

Priebus also dismissed concerns that Trump could cause long-term damage to the GOP, arguing that candidates speak for themselves and voters understand this. He added, “I do agree that tone matters, and how you speak matters. It’s kind of like what our moms all told us, sometimes, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

(h/t Politico)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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