John Kasich Pulls Out, Making Trump Sole Republican Candidate
As John Kasich reportedly drops out, Donald Trump remains as the last Republican challenger.
Billionaire Donald Trump assumed the mantle of presumptive Republican presidential nominee on Wednesday with a message on unity that also suggested he was not going to work too hard to placate some party establishment figures angered by his outsider candidacy.
NBC News reported on Wednesday that Trump’s last remaining challenger, Ohio Governor John Kasich, was suspending his campaign after his dismal third place finish in the Midwestern state.
There was no immediate word on this from Kasich’s campaign, but he cancelled a news conference in the Washington area and planned to make a statement at 5 pm EDT (2100 GMT) in Columbus, Ohio.
Trump, a former reality television star, who has never held public office, won a commanding victory in Indiana’s primary on Tuesday, forcing his main rival, US Senator Ted Cruz, to drop out of the race.
Trump’s win cleared the way him to prepare for a likely match-up in the Nov. 8 general election against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Democratic front-runner Clinton lost the Indiana primary to her tenacious challenger, US Senator Bernie Sanders, but remains on course to become her party’s nominee.
The New York businessman’s immediate challenge is to mend deep fissures within the Republican Party, easing tensions with party loyalists who are appalled by his bombastic, bullying style, his denigrating comments about women and his proposals to build a wall on the border with Mexico and deport 11 million illegal immigrants.
But in a series of Wednesday morning television interviews, Trump, 69, made clear he would not forget some wounds from a tumultuous primary campaign in which many establishment Republicans rejected him and spawned Stop Trump and Never Trump movements.
Trump said on NBC’s Today show:
I am confident that I can unite much of it, some of it I don’t want. Honestly, there are some people I really don’t want. People will be voting for me. They’re not voting for the party.
He prevailed over rivals he derided as “grown politicians,” despite making provocative statements along the way that drew sometimes furious criticism from many in the party but fed his anti-establishment appeal.
With his nomination all but assured, Trump is looking for a running mate. He said on ABC he would choose a Republican, most likely an elected official with political experience. “I’m considering a lot of people,” Trump told Fox News.
Trump’s victory in Indiana and Cruz’s withdrawal means he now looks to have a clear path to be formally nominated as the Republican candidate at the party convention in July, rather than battling for the prize at a contested convention.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Trump the party’s presumptive nominee in a tweet and said, “We all need to unite and focus” on defeating Clinton.
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