Businessman Donald Trump has become the de facto Republican Party presidential nominee after all other opponents withdrew from the competition.
Ohio Governor John Kasich was the last candidate to suspend his campaign.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz did the same Tuesday night following Trump’s huge win in the nominating election in the state of Indiana. Cruz told supporters that his "path toward victory has been foreclosed," and that “voters have chosen another path.”
Donald Trump has never held public office. When he announced his plan to run for president on June 16, 2015, few Americans considered him a serious candidate.
He was the 12th person to enter the Republican contest. In all there were 17 candidates seeking that party’s presidential nomination. Trump was the best-known among Americans.
He was the host of a TV reality show called, “The Apprentice,” for many years. The show had 28 million viewers its first season. Trump has more than 7 million followers on the social media site Twitter.
Trump spoke about unemployment in the United States. He said China, Japan and Mexico had taken U.S. jobs. He criticized Mexico and other Latin American countries which he said were sending illegal immigrants to the United States.
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” he said. Trump promised to “build a great wall” to keep them out and that he “will have Mexico to pay for that wall.”
For the next 10 months, Trump spread his message and attacked opponents on television, radio and social media. He made many incendiary comments about issues and other politicians.
A Trump supporter clashes with protesters outside a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Trump criticized Senator John McCain for being taken as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Many Americans consider the 2008 Republican candidate for president a hero. But, Trump disagreed. “He’s not a war hero. … I like people who weren’t captured,” he said.
Trump made other sharp criticisms against his opponents. He accused Senator Ted Cruz of lying. He called Senator Rubio of Florida, “little Marco.”
Both Republicans and Democrats condemned Trump when he called for banning all Muslims from the United States.
The comments do not seem to affect Republican voters. A Gallup poll in February reported that Republicans support Trump because he is “outspoken,” “strong” and “not a career politician.”
One by one, Trump’s opponents left the race after losses in the primaries and caucuses. Trump’s opponents sharply attacked him. Some called for changes to how delegates are awarded.
Republican chair calls for unity behind Trump
Reince Priebus is the head of the Republican Party. After Trump’s Indiana victory, he tweeted that Trump will be the “presumptive” nominee. He called for party unity to defeat Hillary Clinton.
Matt Dallek is a professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. He wonders if Republicans will follow Priebus’s call for unity.
He says, "The chairman of the RNC coming out and saying he’s the presumptive nominee [is] not insignificant, but that doesn't necessarily persuade Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz and John Kasich and the Lindsey Grahams of the world to endorse him or to certainly appear on the convention stage."
Dallek added, "It’s hard to imagine Ted Cruz endorsing him after all of the things that he said about Trump."
Cruz had called Trump a “pathological liar” and accused him of repeatedly cheating in his marriages.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama is among leading Republicans who support Trump. New Jersey Governor and former candidate Chris Christie is another.
Christie campaigned for the businessman after he dropped out of the race himself.
U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham was also a candidate for the Republican nomination. He wrote, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it.”
Jay Caruso writes for the conservative blog Red State. He wrote that asking for unity behind Trump “is to ask people to betray their most closely held beliefs and values.” Caruso added Trump is the opposite of “all things Republican and conservative.”
Some Republicans went even further to announce support for the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Mark Salter was a long-time advisor to Republican Senator John McCain. Salter tweeted that the “GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it’s on the level. I’m with her.”
Paul Helmke is a professor at Indiana University Bloomington's School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He said Trump’s victory “has shocked the entire political establishment."
He told VOA, "I think what’s happened is that a lot of folks think that government isn't working for them, government isn't effective anymore, they're angry, they want somebody who promises that they can make a difference, and Trump’s somebody who says I can make the deal, I can make this happen, and I think that’s what he’s tapping into."
Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English with additional reporting from Chris Hannas. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story
de facto – adj. used to describe something that exists but that is not officially accepted or recognized
incendiary – adj. causing anger
insignificant –adj. small not important
endorse –v. to publicly support
pathological – adj. extreme in a way that is not normal or that shows an illness or mental problem