The first debate among Republicans running for the White House in 2016 put to rest speculation that billionaire businessman Donald Trump would moderate his harsh denouncement of America’s politicians. He used the opening moments of the faceoff with nine other candidates to refuse to rule out running as an independent. Should he do that, Trump likely would split the Republican vote, making it more likely that Democrat frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton
would win, giving her party a third straight term in in the White House. Trump was at center stage because he has run up a considerable polling lead among the 17 Republicans running for the nomination. He was the only one of 10 candidates in the main debate Thursday night to raise his hand when the Fox News hosts asked who would not pledge to support the eventual party nominee. “I will not make the pledge,” he said.