In addition to generating plenty of legal news this week, Donald Trump also generated some political news, as he announced that he would not sign the pledge to support the Republican nominee that is a "requirement" for participating in the first candidates' debate. "I wouldn't sign the pledge," Trump said to some Newsmax host. "Why would I sign a pledge if there are people on there that I wouldn't have?"
This whole pledge idea was foolish from the beginning, and RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel never should have attempted it. Obviously, she was kowtowing to Trump and trying to keep the party unified behind him. But even Trump himself isn't interested in the scheme. Now, McDaniel has the worst of all worlds. If she sticks with the requirement, then she might well exclude candidates that Republican voters damn well want to see up on stage (like, say, Trump). If she backs down, then she shows the world who's really calling the shots, and that the RNC cannot be taken seriously. And on top of all that, she's also given candidates an "out" for not appearing at the debate.
And that is what we actually suspect is going on here. There are good reasons for Trump to attend the debate, namely to prohibit his opponents from getting two hours of national attention and publicity without him there. And there are good reasons for him to skip the debate, namely to avoid putting his frontrunner status at risk. At the same time, we know that his current shtick is "I'm a martyr." Add it up, and it looks like he's laying the groundwork for not only avoiding the debate, but turning himself into the victim. "I wanted to be there to teach Ron DeSanctimonious a lesson, but the biased people who run the debates demanded that I sign paperwork that I wasn't going to sign, because I'm too honest to do that. Very, very unfair to me. In fact, people are saying I shouldn't do any debates ever again, because they're so unfair."
The debate is exactly 2 weeks away, which means time for Trump to change his mind roughly 28 times about whether he will attend or not. But at the moment, the tea leaves seem to suggest "not." (Z)