BILLIONAIRE reality TV star, Donald Trump, completed his transformation from long-shot White House candidate to presumptive Republican presidential nominee after his commanding win in Indiana’s primary forced his main rival Ted Cruz to drop out of the race
The New York billionaire, who has never held public office, had repeatedly defied pundits’ predictions that his campaign would implode. He prevailed despite making outrageous statements along the way that drew biting criticism but still fed his anti-establishment appeal.
Trump now can prepare for a match-up in the Nov. 8 election. Hillary Clinton is expected to be his Democratic opponent, though her march to the nomination was slowed by rival Bernie Sanders’ victory over her in Indiana.
Trump’s immediate challenge is to unite deep fissures within the Republican Party, easing tensions with party loyalists who are appalled at his bullying style, his treatment of women and his signature proposals to build a wall on the border with Mexico and deport 11 million illegal immigrants.
The New York businessman himself called for unity in a speech at a victory rally that was free of his usual bombast and flamboyance. He also directed fire at Clinton.
“We’re going after Hillary Clinton,” he said. “She will not be a great president, she will not be a good president, she will be a poor president. She doesn’t understand trade.”
Support for Trump among national Republicans had soared in recent weeks to the highest level of the primary campaign, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling. A recent poll found Trump with the support of 53 percent of Republican participants, well above Cruz at 25 percent. Ohio Governor John Kasich, the third Republican in the race, had support of 16 percent.