Reince Priebus: Trump’s Threats To Leave Republican Party Are Not Helpful

Reince Priebus has some choice words for Donald Trump, saying the GOP front-runner’s threats to leave the Republican Party and run for president as an Independent are “not helpful,” Raw Story is reporting.

Making the rounds of the Sunday morning political talk shows, Reince made it clear that the Republican Party will not bow to Donald Trump’s attempts to bully the party by making idle threats.

Since last Tuesday, Trump has broadly hinted that he will leave the Republican Party and run for president as an Independent if he is not treated “fairly” at the GOP’s convention in Cleveland this summer.

“We’re going to have to see how I was treated. I want to be treated fair [sic].”

Just what Donald Trump means by being treated “fairly” has yet to be clearly defined, but in order for him to secure the GOP nomination this summer, one of two things needs to happen. If he (or any other candidate) secures 1,237 delegates before the Republican convention opens in Cleveland in July, then the nomination is theoretically in the bag, as those delegates are pledged to vote for their candidate.

However, if no candidate wins the nomination on the first ballot, then additional ballots will be held, according to Priebus. After the first ballot, the pledged delegates can change their votes and then vote for whomever they choose.

The problem with that process, as far as Trump is concerned, is that all three remaining Republican candidates signed “loyalty pledges” earlier this year, pledging to support the eventual Republican nominee. If Trump doesn’t win the nomination, he has hinted that he will break ranks with the Republicans and run as an Independent.

Similarly, the two remaining Republican candidates — Ted Cruz and John Kasich — have intimated that they won’t support the eventual Republican nominee if it’s Donald Trump.

All of this in-fighting puts Reince Priebus in an awkward position, and he is putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of Donald Trump.

Speaking to ABC NewsThis Week, Priebus made it clear that Trump’s bluster is not making things easy for the Republican Party.

“Those kinds of comments, I think, have consequences. And so when you make those kinds of comments and you want people to fall in line for you, it makes it more difficult.”

Priebus then compared Trump’s threats to those of a small-time candidate for a meaningless office.

“And certainly, you know, if you were running for president of the Kiwanis Club or the Boy Scouts and you said you don’t know if you like the Kiwanis or the Boy Scouts, I think that makes your challenge even greater to ultimately win those kinds of posts. It’s no different for the Republican Party.”

While running as an Independent may make sense for Donald Trump’s ego, it would likely damage the eventual Republican nominee’s chances, siphoning votes away from the Republican candidate and making it easier for the Democratic candidate — whether that be Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders — to win the election.

Similarly, running as an Independent (or on a third party ticket) has generally been a fool’s game when it comes to running for President. The last non-Republican or non-Democrat presidential candidate to get a significant portion of the popular vote was businessman H. Ross Perot in 1992, who won 18.9 percent of the popular vote.

Do you believe that Donald Trump should run as an Independent if Reince Priebus and the Republican Party don’t give him the nomination?

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

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