Back in September, in an attempt to prevent Donald Trump from using a potential third-party run to hold the party hostage, the Republican candidates signed a pledge at the party’s behest pledging to not run as a third-party candidate and to support the eventual Republican nominee for president.
Every candidate signed the pledge and, while the threat of a Trump third-party run would emerge every few weeks, the issue was more or less sidelined. But, as talk of a contested convention has increased, and the campaign between Trump and Cruz has gotten increasingly personal and nasty, the question of the candidates supporting one another after the primary has reemerged. The candidates had previously been coy about supporting one another but at tonight CNN’s GOP town hall debate, the loyalty pledge officially died. Ted Cruz deflected when asked about it, but basically said he wouldn’t support a Donald Trump nomination. John Kasich didn’t explicitly say he wouldn’t support Trump, but clearly indicated that he was thinking about it. Donald Trump was typically more blunt: He basically lit the pledge on fire and waved it in front of Reince Preibus’s face.