Former President Donald Trump questioned why he’d sign the Republican National Committee’s loyalty pledge and named his “problem” with the requirement for candidates to take part in the first GOP primary debate later this month.
The loyalty pledge, also known as the “Beat Biden” pledge, requires qualifying candidates to agree to back the Republican Party’s eventual nominee in 2024.
Trump, who has yet to confirm whether he’ll take part in the event set for Aug. 23, told Newsmax’s Eric Bolling that he wouldn’t sign the loyalty pledge as there are candidates that he wouldn’t endorse.
“I have a problem with the debate for another reason. I wouldn’t sign the pledge. Why would I sign a pledge? There are people on there that I wouldn’t have. I wouldn’t have certain people as, you know, somebody that I’d endorse,” Trump explained to Bolling on Wednesday.
“So they want you to sign a pledge but I can name three or four people that I wouldn’t support for president. So right there, there’s a problem, okay? Right there, there’s a problem.”
The former president, who Fox News executives reportedly “lobbied” in an effort for him to join the network-hosted debate, has suggested he may skip the debate while a number of his GOP rivals have pushed back at the possibility of his absence.
“Hopefully, former President Trump has the courage to show up,” said former Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign on Tuesday after it announced that the candidate has met the donor threshold for the debate stage.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, argued that a no-show from Trump would exhibit a “complete lack of respect” for Republican voters.
Trump told Bolling that he’s already decided on the debate and he’ll make an announcement next week.
The RNC loyalty pledge has been a point of contention among Republican candidates.
Christie, along with former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, have expressed concern over the requirement.
Former GOP Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who took a swipe at Trump in an Iowa speech last month, has indicated that he wouldn’t sign the loyalty pledge.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have been the only two candidates to sign the RNC loyalty pledge ahead of their expected attendance at the debate.
Trump, on Wednesday, said he expected Hutchinson and Christie to ask him “nasty questions” on the debate stage while Ramaswamy – along with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) – have both been “very nice.”
“I mean, these are, you know, very capable people, very good people but why would you do that when you’re leading by so much?” asked Trump before referring to Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon skipping out on debates.