Trump meets with Republican leadership; party unity discussed | Reuters

By Steve Holland and John Whitesides
| WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump made a surprise closed-door visit to the Republican National Committee on Thursday after a tumultuous two days on the campaign trail that included a reversal of his pledge to support the party’s nominee.

Trump, who is also struggling to contain the fallout from his Wednesday comment that women who have abortions should be punished if the procedure is outlawed, said afterward he had a “nice meeting” to talk about party unity with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

“Looking forward to bringing the party together,” Trump said on Twitter. “And it will happen!”

Priebus said the meeting was scheduled days ago and included a discussion about the process heading into the party’s July convention in Cleveland. Trump leads the Republican race, but is at risk of falling short of the 1,237 delegates needed to become the party’s nominee in the Nov. 8 election, raising the prospect of a contested convention.

“We did talk about unity and working together and making sure when we go to Cleveland, and come out of Cleveland, that we’re working in the same direction,” Priebus told the Fox News Channel.

Trump’s relationship with the RNC has been contentious at times, and he recently complained the party was not treating him fairly as it prepared for a possible contested convention.

On Tuesday, Trump backed away from the loyalty pledge he signed in September promising to support the party’s eventual nominee and not to run an independent campaign for the White House.

The RNC pledge has unraveled as Trump’s remaining rivals, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich, also indicated they were unlikely to observe the pledge if Trump was the nominee.

Priebus refused to say if the discarded loyalty pledge was discussed at the meeting with Trump, which lasted just under an hour.

The billionaire businessman was in Washington for a morning gathering of…

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