During a Monday afternoon campaign appearance in South Carolina, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump declared the Republican National Committee in “default of their pledge.” Here’s the full quote:
But what happened is that some of the college kids sold their [debate tickets] to the special interests for good money, they made a couple of bucks, I don’t blame them. But the RNC does a terrible job. A terrible job. And just remember what I said, remember in this room: I signed a pledge, but it’s a double-edged pledge. As far as I’m concerned, they’re in default of their pledge.
According to Ali Vitali at NBC News, Trump is referring specifically to the “terrible job” the RNC did when it comes to those invited to the primary debates. The State adds, “Trump said the debate audience was stacked with lobbyists and big Republican donors.”
The “pledge” in question is the one Trump signed last year agreeing not to run as a third-party candidate. In exchange, however, the Party agreed to a level playing field.
Later that same day at a South Carolina town hall covered by Breitbart’s Alex Swoyer, Trump repeated his assertion that “the pledge isn’t being honored by the RNC.”
The debate audience Saturday night was a disgrace, a stacked deck against Trump that behaved like a bunch a children at a high school basketball game. Trump was relentlessly and loudly interrupted with boos, even before he could finish his first sentence. Establishment favorites Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were just as loudly cheered.
The audience not only made the Republican Party look childish and not ready to lead, it was a terrible strategic move on the audience’s part. During the debate, the audience made Trump look the Establishment Fighter his supporters love.
And now this audience has handed Trump a valid reason to violate the pledge he signed not to run as a third party candidate. There is no question the RNC did not play fair here, and a level playing field was the deal.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC