Trump vows to unite the GOP — except for all the Republicans he ‘doesn’t want’
Donald Trump celebrated his apparent victory in the Republican presidential primary by suggesting he’s bigger than the party that will likely nominate him.
The real estate developer and reality TV star became the presumptive nominee Tuesday night after soundly defeating Ted Cruz — his last remaining serious rival — in the Indiana primary, and he appeared Wednesday morning on NBC’s “Today” to discuss how he might unite a fractured GOP behind his campaign.
“I am confident that I can unite much of it,” Trump said. “Some of it, I don’t want.”
But the GOP presidential candidate is nursing a grudge against some unspecified critics, and he urged them to leave the Republican Party for most of the next decade.
“I mean, there were statements made about me that those people can go away and maybe come back in eight years, after we serve two terms,” Trump said. “But honestly, there are some people I really don’t want. I don’t think it’s necessary — people will be voting for me, they’re not voting for the party, and I think we’re going to do really well against Hillary. She is a disaster and will be a disastrous president.”
NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie asked Trump to explain his comments the previous day on “Fox and Friends” linking Rafael Cruz, the father of his rival, to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The likely nominee said he was unable to control his impulse to share the conspiracy theory after the elder Cruz’s name came up while he was making the live television appearance.
“I was on a show and they played a clip of Ted’s father, who is very active in the campaign, it’s not like he was an inactive person,” Trump said. “He said very nasty things about me, and then I just asked about stories that were appearing all over the place — not just in the National Enquirer — about the fact that a picture was taken of him and Lee Harvey Oswald, and they didn’t deny that picture, and I just asked what that was all about. This is just in response to some very, very nasty — I mean, honestly, some very, very nasty remarks that were made about me.”
No conclusive evidence exists linking Rafael Cruz to the photo of Oswald, Kennedy’s killer, and NBC News’ Matt Lauer asked Trump why he would stoop so low on the same day he was expected to tie up the GOP nomination.
“I didn’t know I had it in the grasp — I mean, I didn’t know I was going to win by such a big margin, and I won by a massive margin, and the people of Indiana, I’m so thankful to them,” Trump said. “But I didn’t know I had no idea early in the morning, the voting was just starting.”
Trump again suggested that he attacked Cruz and his father because he thought doing so would help him win Indiana — and because he’s not able to control his impulses while on television.
“The voting booths were practically not even open when I made this call,” Trump said. “It was a call to a show, and they ran a clip of some terrible remarks made by the father about me, and all I did was refer them to these articles that appeared about this picture — and, you know, not such a bad thing.”
Listen to the entire interview posted online by Today: