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LAS VEGAS — Donald Trump told Yahoo News there’s “no chance” he’ll make a third-party White House bid, following Tuesday evening’s Republican presidential debate at The Venetian hotel and casino.
“No chance,” Trump said in the spin room after the debate, adding, “Big stuff. You got a big thing on that camera.”
Trump, who is currently the GOP frontrunner, told Yahoo he would consider “a lot” of his opponents as potential running mates.
These comments represent a shift for Trump, who has threatened to leave the Republican Party on multiple occasions since he launched his campaign in June. Trump signed a party loyalty pledge in September, after first hinting that he might bolt from the ranks. However, he revived the idea of mounting a third-party bid late last month, following reports that super-PACs were planning to launch attacks against him. Trump cast the PAC assault as evidence that the GOP was treating him “unfairly.” A third-party bid from Trump could split the Republican electorate and hand the White House to the Democrats.
At the debate on Tuesday, Trump vowed that he was “totally committed” to the party, in response to a question from moderator Hugh Hewitt.
“I’ve gained great respect for the Republican leadership. I’ve gained great respect for many — I would even say all, in different forms — of the people on the stage,” Trump said.
Trump’s promise came even though he took shots from several of his opponents during the debate. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush notably focused much of his fire on Trump. However, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas largely avoided fighting with Trump, though they have feuded in recent days, Trump even dubbing the senator a “maniac.”
After the debate, Trump had kind words for both Cruz and Bush in the spin room. He described Cruz as “a good guy” in an interview with MSNBC and told Yahoo he understood why Bush is taking shots at him.
“Well, I feel a little bit badly about Gov. Bush, because he’s, you know, he’s having a hard time,” Trump explained. “I mean, I understand what he’s doing. He’s got to do it. He’s at 3 and I’m at 42 [percent]. I think I’d do the same thing, but you know, he’s a good person. You know, he’s a good man. He’s a good person, and I think I would do the same thing if I were him.“
Yahoo also asked Trump if he would consider either Bush or Cruz as his running mate if he wins the nomination. Trump said he is open to selecting many of his current rivals.
“I’d consider a lot of the people on the dais for a running mate. Honestly, I think there’s some tremendous people up there,” he said. “They have some really great people up there, and I’ve gotten to know them, and I’ve gotten to respect a lot of the people.”