Ben Carson threatened to leave the Republican Party Friday after a report emerged one day earlier showing that Republican officials were considering a brokered convention as Donald Trump remains atop the GOP polls, Politico reported. Citing five unnamed sources, the Washington Post reported Thursday that the potential brokered convention was a topic of discussion at a dinner Monday in Washington hosted by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
“If [the report] is correct, every voter who is standing for change must know they are being betrayed. I won’t stand for it,” Carson said Friday. “I will not sit by and watch a theft. I intend on being the nominee. If I am not, the winner will have my support. If the winner isn’t our nominee, then we have a massive problem.”
A brokered convention occurs when no candidate wins the nomination on a first-ballot vote, thereby launching a multiballot situation where candidates vie for delegates on a second, or potentially third or fourth, vote before a clear nominee emerges.
The Post’s sources said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attended the dinner along with around 20 senior party officials. Although McConnell and Priebus reportedly remained silent, several long-standing party members discussed how best to prepare for a floor fight in the event that Trump makes it through the Republican primaries.
RNC Chief Strategist Sean Spicer said Monday's dinner discussion was simply about the delegation selection process. “The chairman acknowledged that if we got to that point we would be prepared. Our job is to prepare for a successful nomination process,” he said.
Trump has said he is preparing a strategy if a brokered convention does occur and has hinted several times at a potential third-party run, although he told the Post he didn’t think it was likely to happen.
“I’ll be disadvantaged. My disadvantage is that I’d be going up against guys who grew up with each other, know each other intimately, and I don’t know who they are, OK?" Trump said. "That’s a big disadvantage.”