Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Tuesday abandoned a previously made pledge to show support for a presidential party nominee other than himself, potentially increasing friction with his rival Ted Cruz.
When asked at a town hall event if he still supported his pledge made last year to support the Republican nominee for the Nov. 8, Trump said “No, I don’t anymore.”
The loyalty pledge was signed by Trump last September giving him credibility within the Republican National Committee, his rivals for the presidential nomination had also signed it.
Trump’s failure to honour his word came with his involvement in a fight below the belt with Cruz, a US senator from Texas who is running second to Trump in the race for 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.
A Cruz SuperPAC had published a provocative photo of Trump’s wife, Melania, while Trump retaliated directly by tweeting an unsightly photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, next to a photo of former-model Melania with an inserted text reading “the images are worth a thousand words”.
Cruz, when also asked whether he would honor the pledge, did not give a direct answer, instead he said he will beat Donald Trump.
Trump said he could do without Cruz's support.
"I watched him tonight and I watched how tormented he was when you asked him that question," Trump said.
"I don't want to have him be tormented. Let me just tell you I don’t want his support, I don't need his support. I don't want him to be uncomfortable."
Trump suggested that several of those whom he drove “out of the race” might have ill feelings towards him, mentioning former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Walker endorsed Cruz earlier on Tuesday, with Wisconsin's primary vote coming up.
"I drove him out of the race," Trump said of Walker, who abandoned his presidential bid last autumn.
"I drove Jeb Bush out of the race, I drove Rand Paul out of the race. I understand why they don't like me."
A third Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich said he was “disturbed by some of the things” he had seen during the campaign, saying he wanted “to see how this finishes out”.