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Haley signals she's following Trump in declining to follow RNC pledge to endorse GOP nominee

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said she no longer feels bound by a Republican National Committee pledge that requires all GOP presidential candidates to support the party's nominee after former President Donald Trump made a similar move last year. 

Published: March 4, 2024 9:25am

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said she no longer feels bound by a Republican National Committee pledge that requires all GOP presidential candidates to support the party's nominee after former President Donald Trump made a similar move last year. 

The RNC had required all candidates to sign a pledge to endorse the ultimate nominee in order to participate in the primary debates, and nearly every major contender agreed, except for Trump, the likely Republican nominee this fall.

Haley, the only remaining challenger against Trump, was asked Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" whether she still felt bound by the RNC pledge, to which she said "No," citing how the committee's leadership has changed. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel is expected to resign this week, and Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is expected to be co-chair of the RNC alongside North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley.

"The RNC pledge – I mean, at the time of the debate, we had to take it to where, 'Would you support the nominee,' and in order to get on that debate stage, you said yes. The RNC is now not the same RNC. Now, it's Trump's daughter-in-law," Haley, a former South Carolina governor, responded to NBC host Kristen Welker. 

When Welker asked her again about whether she felt bound by the pledge, Haley responded, "No, I think I'll make what decision I want to make. But that's not something I'm thinking about."

Haley said she is thinking about how to "show people that there is a path forward. And so, I don't look at what ifs. I look at, 'How do we continue the conversation?'"

Trump had said last year that he would not sign the RNC pledge to endorse the nominee, and he did not participate in any Republican primary debate. When asked on Hugh Hewitt's radio show in February 2023 whether he would support the GOP nominee if it was not him, Trump said: "It would have to depend on who the nominee was."

Haley won the first primary of her campaign in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, after losing every other contest to Trump. Meanwhile, Trump still maintains a significant lead over Haley, with 76.7% on average in national polls compared to Haley's 15.1%, per FiveThirtyEight.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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