Earlier today, Anderson Cooper asked Ted Cruz if he would still uphold his pledge to support the Republican nominee for president, even though Donald Trump had repeatedly insulted his wife over the past few weeks. Cruz responded coyly, but did not come out and explicitly state that he would not back Trump, were he the nominee.
When it was Trump’s turn to take the stage, Cooper asked him the same question and Trump gave a far more direct answer: “No, I don’t anymore.” With his showman’s flair, Trump explained his change of heart with a narrative of betrayal. “I have been treated very unfairly,” Trump said. “By basically the RNC, the Republican Party, the establishment.” As an added fillip, Trump demeaned the value of Cruz’s endorsement: “I don’t want his support. I don’t need his support.”
This is, in many ways, typical Trump. Seeing Cruz back away from the pledge, Trump beat him to the punch, undercutting the impact when Cruz eventually says he won’t support Trump.
With talk of a convention coup to deny Trump the nomination even if he has a plurality of the delegates, Trump also seems to be keeping his options open for an eventual bolt out of the party and a third-party run, if that proves necessary. Certainly his words will cause the RNC and his rivals many sleepless nights.