POLITICS

Trump celebrates Super Tuesday II victories, strikes conciliatory tone with GOP

Donald Trump had another big Super Tuesday after big wins in Florida, North Carolina, Illinois.

 

Donald Trump had another big Super Tuesday after big wins in Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, but was unable to sweep the board as Ohio Gov. John Kasich took home his home state’s 66 delegates.

The loss in the Buckeye state, however, did nothing to tone down Trump’s celebratory spirit when he took the stage in Palm Beach, Florida on Tuesday night.

While the Republican front-runner did boast of his successes he also tried to strike a conciliatory tone with the Republican establishment. It is up in the air whether or not the billionaire businessman will have enough delegates going into this summer’s convention.

“We’ve had such incredible support,” Trump said. “The fact is we have to bring our party together… We have something that’s made the Republican Party probably the biggest political story around the world.”

Trump also congratulated Marco Rubio – who dropped out of the race earlier in the evening – for running a tough campaign, but alluded to the fact that the negative ads run against the real estate mogul from Rubio and others did not hurt him.

“You explain it to me, because my numbers went up,” Trump said, smiling.

Trump’s plainspoken, but controversial appeals have resonated with many voters across the country, leaving other candidates reeling for a strategy to topple the unconventional front-runner and the GOP Establishment scrambling to figure out what a Trump presidency would look like.

"He will fix everything that is wrong with the economy and immigration," said Alex Perri, a 59-year-old retired firefighter from Margate, Florida, who was campaigning for Trump in the parking lot of an Oakland Park voting place.

Trump's promise to impose tariffs on goods from countries that don't "play fair" has been particularly resonant with voters across the industrial Midwest.

"America is a big business, and he could make money for us," said William McMillen, 70, a part-time warehouse worker in Columbus, Ohio. The registered Democrat said he voted for Trump.

Even as Trump racks up more wins, questions have intensified about whether he is doing enough to stem violence at his raucous rallies.

The New York real estate mogul backed away from a suggestion that he might cover legal costs for a supporter who punched a protester in the face during a rally last week in North Carolina. He has blamed a larger recent clash in Chicago on Democratic protesters.

His Republican rivals and other GOP leaders insist Trump deserves some responsibility.

In a clear reference to Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, the GOP's top elected leader, declared that all candidates have an obligation to do what they can to provide an atmosphere of harmony at campaign events and not incite violence.

Trump said Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America" that his record-setting crowds have had "very, very little difficultly."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke with Trump and asked him to condemn violence no matter who is responsible.

McConnell told reporters that he had a conversation with the candidate Tuesday morning, the first time the two men spoke since December.

The Kentucky Republican and the New York businessman discussed the recent violence that has marred Trump's rallies and protesters have clashed with the candidate's supporters.

In recent weeks, Republicans who dislike Trump have banded to wage multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns against him. One political ad highlights Trump's statements that appear to encourage violence.

Overall, there are 358 pledged delegates at stake on the GOP side in these primaries. The delegates are awarded differently depending on the state, with the winner in Florida and Ohio taking all of them.

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Andrew O'Reilly on Twitter @aoreilly84.

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