GOP presidential contenders will not promise to back winning candidate–even if that means being banned from RNC debates

Trump is leading by leaps and bounds in the polls.


Former President Donald Trump has said that he will skip the scheduled GOP presidential debate in August. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may not come if Trump doesn't. And many candidates have refused to promise to back the candidate who wins the RNC nomination.

Trump is leading by leaps and bounds in the polls, and may not need what boost may come from debating the others in the GOP field. He has his sites set squarely on a rematch with Biden.

Trump suggested that he would boycott the debate in April in a post on Truth Social. He said, "I see everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them."

"[W]hy subject yourself to being libeled and abused?" Trump added.

DeSantis, The Daily Mail reported, may not appear if Trump chooses to abstain.

The RNC has required that debaters promise to back the winning GOP nominee, as is standard, and as does the DNC when they hold debates. 

Each candidate has to reach over 40,000 individual donors before can qualify for the debate stage. 

Vivek Ramaswamy, one of the few longshot candidates who has qualified to get on the debate stage, said in a tweet response to Senator Mike Lee wanting him to debate on stage, "The real race begins on Aug 23 in Milwaukee at the first debate. I’ll be there. We will level up as a party & a nation."

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said that he would have preferred to sign a pledge to not run as a third-party candidate and expressed distaste for the requirement to back whoever wins the nomination. He added, "I’m going to meet the criteria, whatever is set, to get on the debate stage." 

This may create issues with Trump and other candidates. Trump did not commit to backing the 2024 nominee if it is not himself. Others in the field are also opposed to backing Trump if he is the nominee. 

Former Texas Governor Will Hurd said to CNN, "I am not in the business of lying to the American people in order to get a microphone," when asked if he would support Trump as the nominee. 

The second debate will take place at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, with the time not yet announced.
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