Donald Trump wins enough delegates to secure Republican presidential nomination
Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee following a decisive victory in the Indiana primary and the decision by Ted Cruz to drop out of the race.
Though Trump has not formally secured the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination — and likely won’t until June — there is no serious opposition left to block his path.
His victory amounts to a stunning takeover of the Republican Party by a candidate with no political experience. Along the way, he eviscerated the GOP’s most accomplished presidential field in a generation and captured the Zeitgeist of a party in which grass roots voters harbor deep ill will toward establishment elites.
“It is a beautiful thing to watch, and a beautiful thing to behold,” Trump said during a victory speech. “We are going to make America great again.”
Cruz tried everything to pull off a last-ditch win in Indiana, including the unusual move of selecting Carly Fiorina as his running mate even though he wasn’t the nominee. He also forged a pact with John Kasich that would allow him to focus on Indiana while the Ohio governor would devote his time to later states.
But none of the moves worked.
“We left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got but the voters chose another path,” Cruz said. “So with a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”
With 97% of the vote in at nearly 12 a.m. ET, Trump was in the lead with 53.2% while Cruz was at 36.7%. Kasich was at 7.6%.
Following Cruz’s speech, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted Trump is now the presumptive nominee and encouraged the party to “unite and focus on defeating” Hillary Clinton.
Trump paid tribute to Cruz in an effort to bring the party together. “He is one tough competitor,” Trump said. “He is a smart tough guy.” Trump quickly turned his fire on Clinton, saying she would be a “poor president.”
He also said she “doesn’t understand trade” and lashed out at the “deep carnage” he said had been wrought by the North American Free Trade Agreement that was ratified during the presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton.
But the Clinton camp quickly hit back, signaling that with Trump’s ascension to presumptive nominee status, the tone of the 2016 race has changed.
Campaign chairman John Podesta issued a statement saying that Trump would be a “risky choice” for president, saying he was neither prepared to keep Americans safe nor to help working families get ahead. “Donald Trump has demonstrated that he’s too divisive and lacks the temperament to lead our nation and the free world,” Podesta said.
“While Donald Trump seeks to bully and divide Americans, Hillary Clinton will unite us to create an economy that works for everyone.”