By LAURIE KELLMAN, Linked Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Donald Trump on Sunday once more refused to rule out an independent candidate for president in 2016, and he dug in on generating a database to track Muslims in the U.S.

Asked on ABC’s “This Week” whether he’d jump to an independent candidacy, Trump mentioned, “I will see what happens. I have to be treated pretty. If I’m treated fairly, I’m fine.”

The billionaire and former reality show star is leading the race for the GOP nomination for the fourth straight month, with Republican establishment candidates such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio far behind. All the GOP candidates, Trump included, have signed a pledge to help the party’s eventual presidential nominee and forgo independent runs in 2016.

He recommended that his lead in the polls, unshaken by disparaging remarks he’s made about ethnic groups or his lack of specifics on foreign policy, has vexed the Republican party.

“They can’t recognize, you know, how come an outsider can be undertaking so effectively within the party,” Trump said.

The real estate mogul’s standing in national polls has only solidified since current Islamic militant attacks in Europe, especially the Nov. 13 strikes on Paris that killed 130 individuals and wounded hundreds of other folks. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for those attacks. The upsurge in violence has put stress on the candidates from outdoors government, primarily Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who have tiny foreign policy or national safety encounter.

Trump this weekend has tried to back away from his support for a government database to track Muslims in the United States, an thought that drew sharp rebukes from his GOP rivals and disbelief from legal specialists. On Thursday, an NBC News reporter pressed Trump in Iowa on regardless of whether there must be a database for tracking Muslims in the U.S. Trump replied: “There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases.”

Would he place such a database in spot as president?

“I would undoubtedly implement that. Absolutely.”

He attempted in another interview to clarify that position, suggesting a “watch list” for the Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S.

On ABC Sunday, Trump was asked if he guidelines out a database on all Muslims in the U.S.

“No, not at all,” Trump stated. “I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watch lists. We want to go with databases.”

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Stick to Laurie Kellman on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellman and at AP’s Massive Story: http://bigstory.ap.org/content/laurie-kellman

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