Donald Trump said on CNN last night that—OMG!—he’s revoking his pledge to support the Republican nominee for president and not run as an independent.
To which I ask: What pledge? Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that Trump has always added the caveat that he wouldn’t bolt the party as long as he’s treated “fairly.”
For instance, last November 22, he said on national television that he was rethinking an independent run in light of reports that Republican leaders were going to launch a concerted effort to defeat him. “Well, I’m going to have to see what happens,” he said. “I will see what happens. I have to be treated fairly. You know, when I did this, I said I have to be treated fairly. If I’m treated fairly, I’m fine. All I want to do is a level playing field.”
Then, in February, he did it again, claiming unfair treatment and saying, “I signed a pledge but it’s a double-edge pledge, and as far as I’m concerned they’re in default of the pledge.”
For that matter, if you go back to last September, when he signed the pledge, you could interpret one of his statements as leaving himself wiggle room: “I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge.” In other words, he could not foresee at the time that he’d be treated “unfairly.”
To be sure, this is probably the least noteworthy bit of Trump news you’ll see today given that he’s defending his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, against charges—captured on video—that he manhandled a female reporter who was trying to ask Trump a question. (This being Trumpworld, one of Lewandowski’s lawyers is a former US attorney who was once accused of biting a stripper in Florida. Of course.)
And, for that matter, Trump’s rivals are no longer pledging to support him if he wins the nomination, either.
But let’s be serious about the unserious pledge Trump made last September. He has never said he’d stick to it except on his own self-defined terms.