Around 9:36 p.m. on Tuesday night in Madison, Wisconsin, the Republican National Committee loyalty pledge was pronounced dead.
It was killed by the combined efforts of three men, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich, all of whom all but confirmed that they would rather leap in front of a speeding train than support each other for president.
Trump was the most upfront about it when asked during CNN’s town hall. “No, I won’t,” the candy corn-headed frontrunner said when asked by Anderson Cooper if he would promise to back the eventual nominee. “[Cruz] was essentially saying the same thing. He doesn’t have to support me.”
For months, Trump has complained that he has been treated unfairly by the Republican Party and the media and those who don’t support him. He reiterated that sentiment on Tuesday, offering, “I’ve been treated very unfairly” as his main reason for giving any other possible GOP nominee his stubby little finger.
Cruz, as has been his penchant of late, demurred once again when asked about his support for another nominee. “I’m not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife, who attacks my family,” he answered, referring to someone other than John Kasich.
That, of course, was not an answer to the question.
“Let me tell you my solution to that: Donald Trump is not going to be the nominee,” was Cruz’s response to the second attempt at the question.
But the third time he must have gotten it right. Right?
“I gave you my answer,” the senator from Texas said of the man who has recently spent some of his time online mocking Cruz’s wife.
When asked about those responses after the town hall, Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for Cruz, just repeated his initial answer: “Sen Cruz said he does not make a habit of supporting people who attack his wife.”
That left Kasich, the supposed man of reason in the Republican race, the nice guy just trying to run an honest campaign.
“Maybe I won’t answer it, either,” the Ohio governor joked, the wrinkles from his cheeks touching his ears. Kasich added that he has “respect for people that are in the arena” but also said he’d been “disturbed” by some stuff he had seen on the trail. And he wasn’t referring to the thing that fell out of Cruz’s mouth during a debate.
“I don’t want to be political here: I’ve got to see what happens,” he concluded.
Both the Kasich and Trump campaigns have not responded to a request for additional comment from The Daily Beast. Neither has RNC communications director Sean Spicer.
The pledge was dreamed up in September by the RNC to try to keep Trump from jumping ship and running as an independent candidate. Little did they know that he would become their presumptive nominee.
“I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is,” the pledge read. “I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.”
It took Trump approximately 24 hours to call a press conference, where he held up the piece of paper like Simba on Pride Rock, proudly declaring: “The best way for the Republicans to win is if I win the nomination and go directly against whoever they happen to put up. And for that reason, I have signed the pledge.”
Oh, how things have changed.
Five months after signing, Trump hinted at potentially running separately from the Republican ticket, claiming that the RNC hadn’t held up its side of the bargain. His two gripes? That establishment donors had packed the rafters to boo him at recent debates and that (Lyin’) Ted Cruz had questioned Trump’s past positions on guns and abortion.
But Trump steeled away and stuck it out!
For another month.
And then, just like that, the pledge died.