Republican Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who is running for president, said he hasn’t yet signed the loyalty pledge that the party is requiring of all debate participants, adding that no one has provided him with it so he can sign.
During a recent appearance on the “This Week” program on ABC, Christie said:
“I haven’t been presented with the pledge yet.”
Christie added that he believed the Republican National Committee was still trying to verify that he met the requirements in terms of the number of donors to qualify for the first Republican primary debate, which is scheduled to take place in Milwaukee on August 23.
While he acknowledged that he hasn’t been presented with the loyalty pledge yet, Christie didn’t address whether he’d even sign it when he does eventually receive it.
Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the RNC, said that any GOP candidate who wants to take part in the party’s first primary debate this month has to sign a pledge that they will support whoever the eventual nominee of the party is for president come the general election.
That has caused issues among some candidates, including both Christie and Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas. Both have expressed a reluctance to support former President Donald Trump, should he be the one who eventually captures the GOP nomination for president.
In his recent ABC appearance, Christie said:
“I’m sure I’ll be presented with the pledge at some point in the next week.”
Another interesting aspect of the situation is that Trump himself hasn’t even committed to participating in the first debate. He has said that since he has such a big lead in primary polls, he doesn’t see any need for him to participate and allow other candidates to debate him on the same stage.
At the same time, Trump has also said he wouldn’t sign the RNC’s loyalty pledge, since he wouldn’t support some of the other GOP candidates, including Christie, Hutchinson and Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who is considered to be Trump’s biggest challenger in the race.
As Trump told Newsmax recently:
“Why would I sign a pledge if there are people on there that I wouldn’t have?”
For his part, Christie said he’s not surprised Trump hasn’t committed one way or the other to participating in the first GOP primary debate. He explained:
“He plays misdirection all the time.”
Just this week, Trump was indicted for the fourth time this year, with felony charges being levied against him and 18 other people in a state-level investigation in Georgia over interference in the 2020 presidential election.
Jonathan Karl, the host of the ABC program on which Christie appeared recently, asked the former New Jersey governor whether the pledge should have “a little caveat” that if the eventual GOP nominee is a convicted felon, then the pledge would no longer apply.
“Who knows? Maybe it will, Jon. We’ll see how it develops over the next week or so.”