Trump drops pledge to back Republican presidential nominee other than himself

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Trump Won't Promise to Support GOP Nominee

Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Tuesday abandoned a pledge to support a party presidential nominee other than himself, a sign of increasing friction with chief rival Ted Cruz.

"No, I don't anymore," Trump replied, when asked at a CNN town hall event whether he still supported a pledge he made last year to support whoever is the Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election.

SEE ALSO: Anderson Cooper to Donald Trump: 'That's the argument of a 5-year-old'

Trump's signing of a loyalty pledge last September was important in helping him gain credibility within the Republican National Committee. The pledge was also signed by all his rivals for the presidential nomination.

His about-face came as he tries to fend off a challenge from Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas who is running second to the New York billionaire in the race for the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination.

RELATED: Wisconsin Anti-Trump Rally

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Trump drops pledge to back Republican presidential nominee other than himself
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
UNITED STATES - MARCH 29: Anti-Trump protesters gather in the free speech zone outside of the Janesville Conference Center in Janesville, Wis., in advance of the Donald Trump for President rally in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's home town on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate outside a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S., on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Trump began his closing bid to capture Wisconsin's winner-take-all Republican primary by trying to address one of the biggest vulnerabilities of his campaign for the presidency: the female vote. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - MARCH 29: A Trump supporter debates with anti-Trump protesters in the free speech zone outside of the Janesville Conference Center in Janesville, Wis., in advance of the Donald Trump for President rally in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's home town on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate outside a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S., on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Trump began his closing bid to capture Wisconsin's winner-take-all Republican primary by trying to address one of the biggest vulnerabilities of his campaign for the presidency: the female vote. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wait for the start of a campaign rally at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center , (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Donald Trump protesters argue with a supporter outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, prior to a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest the scheduled appearance of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center . (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center , (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Donald Trump protesters hold a sign outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's scheduled appearance. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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Trump and Cruz were enmeshed in a fight last week involving their wives, with a Cruz SuperPAC publishing a provocative photo of Trump's former model wife, Melania, and Trump retaliating by tweeting an unflattering photo of Cruz's wife, Heidi.

Cruz, asked earlier at the CNN town hall whether he also would honor the pledge to support the nominee if it was not himself, declined to give a straight answer.

"Let me tell you my solution to that," Cruz said. "Donald is not going to be the GOP nominee. We're going to beat him."

GOP is the acronym for Grand Old Party, a nickname for the Republican Party.

Trump said he could do without Cruz's support.

SEE ALSO: Police say teenager was groped and pepper-sprayed outside Trump rally

"I watched him tonight and I watched how tormented he was when you asked him that question," Trump told CNN moderator Anderson Cooper. "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 also said he recognized that several of those who have dropped out of the race might harbor ill feelings towards him, mentioning former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Walker endorsed Cruz earlier on Tuesday, with Wisconsin's primary vote coming up on April 5.

"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, was also tentative about honoring the pledge. He told the town hall he had been "disturbed by some of the things I've seen" during the campaign, adding, "I want to see how this finishes out."

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