(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump won’t commit to supporting the Republican presidential nominee in 2024 if he doesn’t win the nomination, raising the prospects of a nightmare GOP scenario of the former president helping Democrats retain the White House.
When asked in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday whether he’d support the GOP nominee if it’s not him, Trump said, “It would have to depend on who the nominee was.” Trump gave the same answer during his 2016 presidential campaign.
The ex-president hasn’t said he’d mount an independent candidacy if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination, but some Republican leaders are worried about that possibility or the impact if Trump doesn’t win and won’t support the nominee.
The Washington Post reported that Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel told members privately ahead of her Jan. 27 reelection that she’s best positioned to prevent Trump from forming a third party if he doesn’t win the nomination. McDaniel denied the report, saying she has told people the party needs to ensure all 2024 candidates agree to unify behind the nominee to succeed.
A new poll released on Tuesday by Republican pollster Whit Ayres and his colleagues for the Bulwark, an anti-Trump conservative news and opinion site, showed that the 28% of likely GOP primary and caucus voters who are locked in to supporting Trump would back him even if he ran as an independent.
“In this scenario, 2024 would be a replay of the 1912 Presidential election, with former Republican President Teddy Roosevelt running as the Bull Moose Party candidate against Republican nominee William Howard Taft and Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson, splitting the Republican vote and ensuring that the Democrat Wilson would win the election,” a memo released by the pollsters said.
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