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Donald Trump delivered a different type of speech on Tuesday night.
“What Ted did is a brave thing to do,” he said. “Because we need to bring unity to the Republican party.”
After months of sparring with Cruz in the press and on the campaign trail, Trump skipped the insults and gloating and instead took the opportunity to appear more reserved than the billionaire businessman has yet to appear in his victory speeches.
After winning the Indiana primary, prompting Cruz to tell his supporters that the path to victory “has been foreclosed,” Trump complimented Cruz’s campaign performance and focused on bringing the divisive GOP party together.
“I’ve competed all my life, I’m a competitive person,” Trump said, mentioning sports and business and now, for the last 10 months, politics. “I have met some of the most incredible competitors that I have ever competed against. Just so you understand, Ted Cruz, he is one hell of a competitor. He is a tough, smart guy.”
He also related his own campaign experience to Cruz’s, before mentioning his wife Heidi and their “beautiful family” — a far cry from when, less than two months ago, the pair were feuding over each other’s wives.
“He has got an amazing future, so I want to congratulate Ted,” Trump said. “And I know how tough it is, it’s tough. I’ve had some moments where it’s not looking so good. So I understand how Ted feels.”
Trump also extended his praises to former GOP candidates Chris Christie and Dr. Ben Carson, saying he plans to keep both involved because “we’re gonna win.” He added, “We’re gonna win in November.”
He then shifted his focus to his Democratic rival.
“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.”
Focusing much of his speech on trade deals and restoring the economy, Trump called attention to Bill Clinton’s NAFTA deal, calling it “perhaps in the history of the world, the single worst trade deal ever done.”
On CNN’s coverage of the Indiana primary, the anchors debated whether the Clintons are prepared for the Trump-style attacks.
“Is Bill Clinton, or any of the Clintons, ready for Trump to go there?” asked Anderson Cooper. “If he’s bringing up the National Enquirer linking Ted Cruz’s dad to the JFK assassination, who knows what he’s going to do.”
On Tuesday night, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus seconded Trump’s comments while referring to him as the presumptive party nominee.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) May 4, 2016
The Clinton campaign was swift to respond to Trump being the likely GOP nominee, saying, “Donald Trump is simply too big of a risk.” Read the full statement released by campaign chair John Podesta below:
“Fundamentally, our next president will need to do two things: keep our nation safe in a dangerous world and help working families get ahead here at home. Donald Trump is not prepared to do either. Throughout this campaign, Donald Trump has demonstrated that he’s too divisive and lacks the temperament to lead our nation and the free world. With so much at stake, Donald Trump is simply too big of a risk. Hillary Clinton has proven that she has the strength to keep us safe in an uncertain world and a lifelong record of fighting to break down the barriers — economic and social — that hold working families back. While Donald Trump seeks to bully and divide Americans, Hillary Clinton will unite us to create an economy that works for everyone.”
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