Trump threatens to run as independent after Republican rebukes
Published 24/07/2015 | 02:30
US presidential candidate Donald Trump has threatened to run as a political independent if he does not get "fair" treatment from the Republican Party.
Mr Trump (left) said any third-party bid would depend on the Republican National Committee's (RNC) actions during the party's primary selection process.
"I'll have to see how I'm being treated by the Republicans," he said in an interview yesterday. "Absolutely, if they're not fair, that would be a factor."
The comments by the billionaire followed rebukes by the party establishment over his criticism of Mexican immigrants and US Senator John McCain's war record and for personal attacks against fellow Republican White House contenders.
With Mr Trump hovering near the top of the field of 16 candidates seeking the party's presidential nomination, an independent run would split Republican voters and could give leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton an edge in the November 2016 election.
Mr Trump said the RNC was "always supportive" when he donated to the conservative party. But now, "the RNC has not been supportive", he said. "The RNC has been, I think, very foolish."
The RNC had issued a statement saying remarks by Mr Trump, who last week disputed the heroism of Mr McCain, who was held prisoner for five years during the Vietnam War, had "no place in our party or our country".
After Mr Trump earlier this month said most immigrants coming across the US-Mexico border were criminals, the committee's chairman asked him to tone down his rhetoric.
Mr Trump has made it his mission to target other candidates. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has been a butt of Mr Trump's jokes for his studious-looking glasses. Mr Trump also revealed Republican candidate Lindsey Graham's personal mobile number on television after the South Carolina senator called him a "jackass" for his comments on Mr McCain.
Mr Perry hit back, likening Mr Trump's candidacy to cancer, while Mr Graham joked on Twitter about getting a new phone. "He's sort of a political car wreck," Mr Graham said yesterday.
Asked whether he would change his tone as president, Mr Trump said: "I think so. I would deal very differently."