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gop loyalty pledge

Donald Trump has dropped his pledge to support the GOP candidate if he does not win the Republican nomination for the November election.

His rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, refused to say outright whether they would unite behind a nominee.

All the Republican candidates signed a loyalty pledge last November.

It is the latest sign of friction between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who have been embroiled in a dispute involving each other’s wives.

A committee supporting Ted Cruz published a photo of Donald Trump’s wife Melania from 2000. In retaliation, Donald Trump tweeted an unflattering picture of Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi.

Asked by CNN about the dispute, Donald Trump said of Ted Cruz: “He started it.”

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

CNN presenter Anderson Cooper replied, said: “But, sir, with all due respect, that’s the argument of a five-year-old.”

“No, it’s not,” said Donald Trump.

Donald Trump claims he has been “treated very unfairly” in the campaign.

To a question about whether he maintained his loyalty pledge from last November, Donald Trump said: “No, I do not anymore.”

Earlier, when asked the same question, Ted Cruz did not give a direct answer but said: “I am not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and attacks my family.”

He went on: “Donald is not going to be the GOP nominee. We are going to beat him.”

Donald Trump later replied, saying he did not need Ted Cruz’s support: “I have tremendous support right now from the people.”

The New York tycoon has been repeatedly criticized by his rivals and observers for a campaign that has included personal attacks at rivals and criticism and violence against protesters.

Despite the numerous recent controversies surrounding him, Donald Trump is currently well ahead in the Republican race with 739 delegates to Ted Cruz’s 465.

John Kasich is some way behind with 143, with the 1,237 needed to win the nomination probably out of his reach.

The three candidates have campaigned in Wisconsin ahead of April 5 primary there.

Donald Trump has signed a GOP loyalty pledge agreeing not to run as an independent candidate if he loses the Republican nomination for the 2016 elections.

The presidential hopeful said on September 3: “I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands.”

Donald Trump had earlier refused to rule it out.

The billionaire business mogul, who has been soaring in the polls, has come under pressure in recent weeks from the Republican Party to sign the pledge.

Donald Trump’s announcement will be seen as a victory for the party, who may have seen a split in its support and given the Democrats a boost had Trump pressed ahead as an independent candidate.

He said he had received nothing for signing the loyalty pledge, aside from the assurance that he would be treated fairly in the race.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Donald Trump was booed by audience members during the Republican presidential debate last month after he refused to rule out a third-party run. He was the only candidate not to commit to back the winner of the party’s primaries.

The Republican Party National Committee has since sought a loyalty pledge from each of its presidential hopefuls, in what is believed to be a first for the party.

“The best way forward… to win, is if I win the nomination and go direct against whoever (the Democrats) happen to put up. So for that reason, I have signed the pledge,” Donald Trump told reporters gathered at his campaign headquarters in New York’s Trump Tower.

“I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge,” he added.

The Republican Party pledge asks presidential candidates to “endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is”.

Donald Trump has come under attack from his rivals in the race who have questioned his conservative credentials and liberal leanings in the past.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said on September 3 Donald Trump’s views on illegal immigration were “too pessimistic”, despite vowing to support his rival if he won the party race.

Some of the measures Donald Trump has outlined to combat illegal immigration include raising visa fees to pay for a wall along the Mexican border and ending the automatic right to citizenship for US-born children of families living illegally in America.

The latest poll by Monmouth University puts Donald Trump way ahead with support from 30% of Republicans, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson running a distant second with 18%.

The rest of the Republican pack is trailing far behind, with Jeb Bush currently tied with Texas senator Ted Cruz at 8%.