Presidential candidate Ben Carson threatened to leave the Republican Party Friday amid reports that leaders are discussing the prospects of a brokered convention. He said he would leave if there are signs the nomination process is being manipulated.
“If this was the beginning of a plan to subvert the will of the voters and replace it with the will of the political elite, I assure you Donald Trump will not be the only one leaving the party,” said Carson, in a statement.
Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, also responded to a report by The Washington Post that Republican leaders met to talk about what to do if there’s not a candidate who wins the majority of delegates heading into the convention in July. GOP leaders allegedly discussed how to deal with Trump’s high rank most GOP polls as well, according to USA Today.
“If the leaders of the Republican Party want to destroy the party, they should continue to hold meetings like the one described in the Washington Post this morning,” Carson said, according to CNN.
“I pray that the report in the Post this morning was incorrect. If it is correct, every voter who is standing for change must know they are being betrayed. I won’t stand for it,” he added.
ABC News asked Carson if a third-party run was in his future. “I have no intentions of running as an independent. But I certainly don’t want to be a part of corruption,” he said.
I’m sure the GOP is rejoicing in spite of that statement. If Carson or Trump were to run differently, the GOP would be in trouble. Carson has been slipping in recent polls, but an independent bid that could carry even a few percentage points away from the party’s nominee could make it hard for the Republican nominee to win the general election, according to The Associated Press.
RNC chief strategist and communications director, Sean Spicer, set out to reassure Carson on Friday. “I say to Dr. Carson, ‘Don’t worry, your prayers have been answered,'” he said to CNN’s Kate Bolduan. “It was dinner where the subject was how the delegate selection process works. …At the end of the dinner, there were a lot of questions asked.”
He called all of the talk “quite silly.”
Though this is the first time that Carson has suggested the possibility of leaving the GOP, he has stood with Trump before on pressuring the Republican party to meet demands, including on debate structure, according to CNN.