Trump’s Reversal on GOP Pledge Threatens Grip on South Carolina Delegates

Donald Trump / AP
March 31, 2016

Frontrunner Donald Trump backed off his pledge to support the Republican nominee earlier this week, a development that could threaten his hold on the delegates he captured in the South Carolina primary.

Time reported that South Carolina, along with other states, required candidates to pledge to support their party’s nominee in order to get a spot on the primary ballot. Trump signed the loyalty pledge and went on to win all 50 delegates during the primary contest in South Carolina on February 20.

However, during the CNN Republican town hall on Tuesday, Trump told moderator Anderson Cooper that he would not support the eventual GOP nominee regardless of who it was.

"I have been treated very unfairly," Trump stated, criticizing the "RNC, the Republican Party, the establishment."

Matt Moore, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, indicated that Trump’s reversal on the ballot pledge raises legal questions.

"Breaking South Carolina’s presidential primary ballot pledge raises some unanswered legal questions that no one person can answer," Moore told Time. "However, a court or national convention Committee on Contests could resolve them. It could put delegates in jeopardy."

South Carolina has not yet selected its delegates to the national GOP convention this summer. According to South Carolina and RNC rules, the delegates would be bound to Trump on the first ballot. A challenge, however, could be filed after the delegates are selected pushing to allow the delegates to operate as free agents on the first ballot.

Speculation has mounted around the prospect of a brokered convention as Trump’s controversial candidacy has continued to make him an enemy of some influential Republican Party members.

Trump is currently under fire for expressing support for "some form of punishment" for women who have illegal abortions. He has also been scrutinized for standing by Corey Lewandowski, his campaign manager, after Lewandowski was charged with misdemeanor battery.

Trump met with RNC chairman Reince Priebus in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.