Donald Trump rang in another evening of “a lot of victories” in typical style Tuesday night that featured a meandering 42-minute news conference in which he hawked his various business ventures before promising to be the Republican party's great unifier.
“There’s only one person who did well tonight: Donald Trump,” he said, with the night’s two biggest states, Mississippi and Michigan, already called in his favor.
Trump also claimed to have had a recent conversation with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, who “could not have been nicer.” Trump also called the conversation “very encouraging.”
Much of the rest of the night was devoted to the various Republicans who have criticized Trump and his business ventures. He brought props to drive the point home: Wine he said was from a vineyard he owned, steaks he said belonged to Trump Steaks — though that claim was quickly disputed on social media — and even bottled water from company he had been involved with.
“I’m gonna be done with this in about two seconds,” he said of the criticism of these and other business ventures, before launching into a long rebuttal that at times seemed like a pitch on the Home Shopping Network. To the claim that the publication Trump Magazine was now defunct, he said, “I thought I read it two days ago,” and tossed a copy into the crowd.
He called out some of his sharpest Republican detractors by name, such as former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Sen. Lindsey Graham, and cast the night’s wins as triumphs in the face of a blitz of negative advertising.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had so many horrible, horrible things said about me in one week — $38 million worth of horrible lies,” Trump said.
His criticism of the three other candidates still in the race was at times more muted by his standards — he even congratulated them for their hard work because campaigning is “not easy stuff.”
Then again, Trump did return to his line that Ted Cruz was a vicious liar: “I call him lyin’ Ted,” Trump said. “He holds the Bible high and then he goes down, he puts the Bible down, and then he lies.”
He also mocked Cruz for claiming he was the only person who could beat him, noting he had won far more states than Cruz. He also said that Sen. Marco Rubio’s recent pointed attacks were actually hurting the senator more than helping.
“Little Marco helped me a lot,” he said.
Trump made the case that he could bring Republicans together, despite the public discord.
“The bottom line is, we have something going that is so good. We should grab each other, and we should unify the party,” he said. “And nobody is gonna beat us, OK?”
Trump came to the stage with speech notes written in Sharpie in his breast pocket, and twirled his finger as he pointed at reporters, engaging them with jokes and quips.
On next week’s other big race?
“I think we’re gonna do really well in Florida,” he said. “It’s my second home.”
Alex Campbell is the deputy UK investigations editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London. His secure PGP fingerprint is C99D 2577 74B1 8DF0 6E90 3CD7 DFF4 C0F2 2492
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