U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a news conference in Chicago, Illinois, United States.
Jim Young—REUTERS
December 11, 2015 12:39 PM EST

Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson threatened to leave his party Thursday, following reports that party leaders had discussed preparations for a brokered convention at a recent dinner in Washington, D.C.

“If the leaders of the Republican Party want to destroy the party, they should continue to hold meetings like the one described in the Washington Post this morning,” Carson said in a statement released by his campaign. The Post story suggested that some of the discussion focused on ways of blocking Donald Trump from getting the nomination.

“If it [the report] is correct, every voter who is standing for change must know they are being betrayed. I won’t stand for it,” Carson said, continuing that if the report was accurate, “I assure you Donald Trump won’t be the only one leaving the party.”

“I am prepared to lose fair and square, as I am sure is Donald,” Carson continued. “But I will not sit by and watch a theft. I intend on being the nominee. If I am not, the winner will have my support. If the winner isn’t our nominee then we have a massive problem.”

Party elders, both at the Republican National Committee and in informal advisory roles, have long been working to prepare for a possible brokered convention, even though Chairman Reince Priebus has argued that the party is likely to pick a nominee by the Spring, as TIME’s Zeke Miller reported in October. Monday’s meeting described in the Post was regularly scheduled meeting of advisors to Priebus.

“We’re seeing the pitchforks ascendant in Washington,” one party graybeard told Miller back in October. “Just wait until they realize what trouble they can cause in Cleveland.”

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Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.berenson@time.com.

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