Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump strongly criticised the Republican National Committee on Monday for allegedly handing out debate tickets to donors and lobbyists.
“I did well in the debate. A lot of people said I won that debate. But … the whole room was made up of special interests and donors, which is a disgrace from the RNC,” Trump said at an event in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
“The RNC better get its act together,” he added.
Trump was repeatedly booed at last Saturday’s debate, which was hosted by CBS News. At the time, Trump confronted and dismissed the people booing him as big-money donors and lobbyists who supported his rivals on the stage.
But Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s communications director, suggested that Trump’s claim was unfounded.
“Each candidate received 100 tickets which is the largest amount so far. The candidates as a whole were the largest group of ticket holders,” Spicer told Business Insider when asked about Trumps’ comments.
In addition to calling the debate-ticket situation a “disgrace,” Trump strongly suggested that it violated the pledge he signed last summer to not run an independent campaign for the White House if he doesn’t get the GOP nomination. Trump said he was assured that the RNC would be fair to him in return.
Trump said at his Monday event:
I signed a pledge. But the pledge isn’t being honored by them. I signed a pledge. The pledge isn’t being honored by the RNC. Because those tickets were all special-interest people. And I know them! I’m looking in the audience: Some of them are friends of mine and yet they’re booing me because they’re having fun. The guy’s booing me and he’s laughing and he’s waving and he’s going, “Boo, boo.”
“The RNC does a terrible job — a terrible job,” he added. “And just remember what I said — remember in this room — I signed a pledge. But it’s a double-edged pledge. And as far as I’m concerned, they’re in default of their pledge when they do that.”
Trump, despite his lead in the polls, has repeatedly teased the idea of an independent campaign since he signed the pledge.
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