Signing the Republican National Committee-mandated declaration to support the eventual GOP nominee remains a sticking point for former President Donald Trump, he told Newsmax on Wednesday night.
“I have a problem with the debate for another reason: I wouldn’t sign the pledge,” Trump told Wednesday’s “Eric Bolling The Balance” in a 42-minute interview from his summer home in Bedminster, New Jersey. “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 endorse. So they want you to sign a pledge.”
While Trump refused to define to host Eric Bolling which candidates he would never endorse for president, he was very critical of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at times in the interview.
“I can name three or four people that I wouldn’t support for president,” Trump told Bolling. “So right there, there’s a problem right there. There’s a problem.”
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Also, Trump asked, “what’s the upside” of giving also-rans polling with “2%, 1% or zero %?”
“They could go up,” Trump said. “You know, they’re not dumb people. They’re senators. They’re governors. They’re intelligent people. You have some very good people, I think.”
Trump did praise Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and a politician who is not in the race: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
“I saw Kristi Noem — who’s terrific, she’s done a fantastic job — I watched her this morning,” Trump said. “She was on television. They asked, ‘Are you going to run? Because there are other people running, and are you going to run?’
“She said no. ‘Why aren’t you going to run?’
“‘Because nobody can beat Trump,’ she said, which I greatly respect. I mean, she’s saying, I hope, the truth.
“She said, ‘Why would I run? Nobody’s going to beat Trump; it’s not even a contest. These people are just wasting their time.'”
Hutchinson is not worth debating, Trump said.
“You look at the debate and they want you to debate, but you’re debating — it’s not really fair — somebody like Asa Hutchinson, who’s polling at zero %, will ask me nasty questions,” Trump said. “Somebody like Chris Christie is falling at 1% and he’s going to ask me nasty questions and others, too.”
There is presidential primary history siding with Trump on passing on the debate, too, he told host Eric Bolling, noting that former presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon skipped primary debates. President Joe Biden was not in the earliest Democrat primary debates in 2019 either, because he was not yet in the race.
“But why would you do that when you’re leading by so much?” Trump asked. “Ronald Reagan didn’t do it. Nixon didn’t do it. Many people didn’t do it.
“But I’m going to look at it very seriously. I’d like to do it. I’ve actually gotten very good marks on debating talents. But you want to be, you know, they want a smart president. They want somebody that’s going to be smart. So we have to do the smart thing.”