I’m sure in his own mind, Donald Trump sounded tough and independent when he declared in a town hall last week that he wouldn’t support the GOP nominee anymore if it wasn’t him. He probably thought it played well with his supporters, who for some reason find a man who complains endlessly about how unfair everyone is to him to be “strong” and not “a whiny toddler.”
But it remains to be seen how this will ultimately play in the delegate selection process. Already the SC GOP has threatened to revoke the 50 bound delegates Trump won there. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus continued this refrain by warning of “consequences” for Trump for breaking his loyalty pledge:
Responding to Trump’s decision to abandon his loyalty pledge on ABC’sThis Week, Priebus said the decision could deepen Trump’s delegate troubles. “Those kinds of comments I think have consequences,” Priebus said. ” And so when you make those kinds of comments, and you want people to fall in line for you, it makes it more difficult.”
“If you were running for president of the Kiwanis Club or the Boy Scouts and you said you don’t know if you like the Kiwanis or the Boy Scouts, I think that makes your challenge even greater to ultimately win those kinds of posts,” he added. “It’s not different for the Republican Party.”
Now, this is really nothing different from saying that Trump has not helped endear himself to delegates, not all of whom will be personally loyal to him at a contested convention. However, the kicker is what Priebus said later:
Priebus also suggested that Trump’s comments could imperil his access to the party’s databases.
The only possible application of this would occur after Trump has already won the nomination, which means that Priebus is threatening to punish Trump even if he wins. For a guy (Priebus) who has bent over backwards to accommodate Trump (including having non-friendly debate moderators removed at Trump’s insistence), this is a noted shift of tone.