'Hostage situation': GOP insiders fear Trump third party run if he loses primary

'Hostage situation': GOP insiders fear Trump third party run if he loses primary
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump disembark Air Force One Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, at El Paso International Airport greeted by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Former President Donald Trump is still the frontrunner to be the Republican Party's 2024 presidential nominee -- but what would happen if he were defeated.

Republican insiders who spoke with Semafor say they can't rule out the possibility that Trump would completely sabotage the party by launching an independent candidacy, with former RNC official Michael Short likening it to a "hostage situation."

The publication notes that Trump teased potentially running as a third-party candidate in 2016, which he boasted gave him "leverage" over the party as a whole.

One former Trump administration official also tells Semafor that while the former president at the moment isn't pondering an independent run, it is definitely not an outlandish scenario.

"Trump was so successful in part because he ran against the elite and out of touch political establishment on both sides, so I’d say it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility," they explained.

So far, Trump is the only Republican to announce a 2024 bid for the presidency, although there is speculation that former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley could also jump into the race.

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