And That's A Wrap For the 2016 Primary Season:
- Hillary Clinton claimed the mantle Tuesday night as the first female presidential nominee of a major political party, telling a raucous crowd in Brooklyn, "We are all standing underneath a glass ceiling right now."
- Clinton strongly emphasized the historic nature of her presumptive nomination. "Tonight's victory is not about one person; it is about generations," she said.
- Despite speculation that he might drop out, Bernie Sanders vowed to continue his presidential bid until next week's Washington, D.C., primary, as well as his party's national convention in July.
- Meanwhile, Trump, in his speech on Tuesday night, blasted Clinton and said he would be "carrying the mantle" of the Republican party. "We accomplished what nobody thought was possible," he said, adding he will "lead the Republican party to victory."
- Clinton won the New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, and California primaries on Tuesday while Sanders won North Dakota and Montana.
- These final state contests of the primary season come a day after Clinton secured commitments from enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination for president, according to an Associated Press count.
- One primary remains: the Washington, D.C., contest next week for the Democrats. It's not expected to change the outcome of the race.
Clinton wins in California primary
Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic presidential primary in California with 56% of the vote.
With 92% of votes counted, the Associated Press and several other outlets called the race for Clinton.
Bernie Sanders vows to "continue the fight" after Clinton claims nomination
Bernie Sanders isn't giving up.
The Vermont senator vowed to stay in the Democratic presidential race Tuesday night, despite Hillary Clinton claiming the nomination hours earlier and trailing her by an all-but-insurmountable delegate gap. Sanders made the comments in Santa Monica, California, shortly after voting wrapped up in the Golden State's presidential primary but before the final results had been reported.
In his speech, Sanders touted his victories in North Dakota and Montana, and said he expected the gap in California to "significantly diminish."
The hours leading up to Sanders' speech were filled with widespread speculation that he might drop out of the race. Just a day earlier, the Associated Press cited delegate counts and named Clinton the "presumptive nominee" of the Democratic party. News coverage of Sanders' campaign, meanwhile, chronicled the fizzling of his campaign.
But Sanders defied those who expected him to end his bid, saying "next Tuesday we continue the fight in the last primary in Washington, D.C."
"Then we take our fight for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice to Philadelphia," Sanders said, referring to the Democratic Party's convention in July.
He later acknowledged that "I am pretty good in arithmetic" and said that "the fight in front of us is a very steep fight." Still, he said, "we will continue to fight for every vote and every delegate."
Sanders was repeatedly cheered by a raucous crowd of supporters throughout his speech, who he thanked for their support in his "political revolution." He also hit many of his campaign points — mentioning issues such as universal healthcare and stopping presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump — and argued that the goal of his campaign is to "bring the American people together to create a government that works for us."
"Our fight is to transform this country and to understand that we are in this together," he said. "To understand that all of what we believe is what the majority of the American people believe. And to understand that the struggle continues."
President Obama calls Clinton to congratulate her, will meet with Sanders at the White House
The White House said in a statement Tuesday night the president had called Clinton and Sanders to congratulate them on the Democratic primary race.
The full statement follows:
Hillary Clinton on Tuesday embraced the historical significance of shoring up her status as the first woman to be the presumptive presidential nominee of a major party.
"We are all standing under a glass ceiling right now, but don't worry, we're not smashing this one," Clinton said in Brooklyn, New York.
Clinton congratulated rival Bernie Sanders for the "extraordinary" campaign he has run, adding that the vigorous debates between the two candidates have been good for the Democratic party and the U.S.
She also turned her attention to her presumptive Republican rival, Donald Trump.
"Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president," she said. "'Make America Great Again' is code for 'Let's Take America Backwards.'"
She added that Trump has been "rubbing salt in wounds and reminding us daily just how great he is," while abusing his primary opponents and their families.
"We believe cooperation is better than conflict," she said. "Unity is better than division… bridges are better than walls."
There are still ceilings and barriers to break, Clinton said, but insisted that justice and equality can win out.
"This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on anyone," Clinton said. "This is our moment to come together."
Clinton had already secured the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination on Monday, according to the Associated Press, making her victory lap on Tuesday widely accepted.
Still unclear was how Sanders, who was holding out for early returns in the night's biggest contest in California, would react as Clinton pulls further ahead. The New York Times on Tuesday reported that the Vermont senator planned to lay off more than half his campaign staff.
Bernie Sanders plans to lay off at least half his campaign staff Wednesday as Hillary Clinton embraces her status as the presumptive Democratic nominee, the New York Times reported.
The report, which cites two people close to the Sanders campaign, comes after Clinton secured the 2,383 delegates needed to become the first female presumptive nominee of a major political party, according to the Associated Press.
Sanders had criticized the AP for being the first to make the call before polls opened on Tuesday, and has said all along that he plans to bring his campaign to party's convention in a last-ditch effort to convince so-called "super delegates" — of which Clinton holds the vast majority — to switch their support.
Many of those being laid off are staff members who often help with campaign logistics, as well as field staff members, The Times reported. Some campaign workers may take jobs at Sanders's Vermont Senate office.
Before Bernie Sanders's speech on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton's campaign tweeted that her status of presumptive nominee was for "every little girl who dreams big."
Clinton has sought to highlight her history of supporting women's rights issues against the derogatory comments made by her presumptive Republican rival, Donald Trump, particularly those directed at her and other female candidates.
Wait, what did Donald Trump just say?
A man in the audience at Trump's speech yelled out: "No TPP!" and Trump agreed, saying "No PPP."
The TPP was a reference to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations that the presumptive Republican nominee has railed against as costing the U.S. jobs and industry.
Trump then quipped, "and no PP."
A slip of the tongue? A joke? We'll leave it up to you to decide.
Donald Trump on Tuesday he would not let the Republican party down as its presumptive nominee for president.
"We accomplished what nobody thought was possible," he said. "I understand the responsibility of leading the Republican party....I will make you proud."
His comments came on the same day the billionaire businessman faced growing backlash among top Republican leaders over his criticism of a federal judge presiding over cases against Trump University because of his "Mexican heritage."
But Trump sought to paint himself as a uniter Tuesday night, welcoming Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders' supporters "with open arms" in the general election. Hillary Clinton was declared the presumptive Democratic nominee ahead of Tuesday's primaries.
"I'm going to be your champion, because this election isn't about Republicans or Democrats, it's about who runs this government: the special interests, or the people, and I mean the American people," he said.
Earlier in the day, a frustrated Republican leadership clearly feared a general electorate would feel differently.
"Let's face it — 'meet the new Trump' is a lot like the old Trump," Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who has said he won't vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton, told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "For those of us who had hoped we'd see the 2.0 version, I think the realization is coming that we got what we got. That's not somebody who can win the White House."
House Speaker Paul Ryan also called Trump's comments regarding U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel the "textbook definition of a racist comment," though he stood by his endorsement, saying the Republican agenda stood the best chance of advancing with the billionaire businessman.
Despite the blowback, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee didn't back down, asserting in a statement before his speech that his comments had been "misconstrued."
"I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent," he said in a statement. He added: "I do not feel that one's heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial."
Renee Ellmers Loses In North Carolina
North Carolina Republican Rep. George Holding handily defeated his colleague Rep. Renee Ellmers in a special GOP primary Tuesday — a dramatic fall for the once tea party star, who received a last-minute endorsement from Donald Trump.
Ellmers and Holding were forced to face each other after a court ruling earlier this year that led to the creation of new congressional districts in the state. Ellmers is the first House Republican to lose a primary so far this election cycle.
Although Trump recorded a robocall on her behalf, it wasn't enough to counter the narrative set in place by powerful conservative groups — including Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth, and pro-life organizations — who came out against the congresswoman a few weeks ago and launched a grassroots-focused campaign against her.
The groups portrayed her as a big-spending, establishment Republican who couldn't be trusted.
Bernie Sanders said he is "disappointed" the Associated Press announced Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee prior to polls closing on Tuesday.
In an interview with NBC, Sanders said he is upset the AP "got on the phone and started hounding" super delegates and made the announcement that Clinton had enough delegates to become the nominee the night before what he said was the largest primary.
"I was disappointed," he said, adding that he believes the call may suppress voter turnout.
Overlooking terrorism that killed Americans, including the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, Donald Trump sought investment partnerships with Muammar al-Qaddafi and the Libyan regime, BuzzFeed News can reveal.
He invited the dictator to rent his Westchester estate, tried to set up a face-to-face meeting, and took the Libyan ambassador on a golf junket.
"Let's not worry about the tent. I'm interested in having a meeting with Qaddafi."
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Tuesday that he disagrees with Donald Trump’s attack on a federal judge’s heritage.
"Well, I surely disagree with Mr. Trump on that point, and you can't have a religious or ethnic test to be a judge in America," Grassley said on Iowa News/Talk 1540 KXEL. "You to have to take the usual motions — well, let me start over. Every person's entitled to a person they think will be a fair judge, to give impartial justice. But if you think you don't have such a person, there are plenty of motions that you can make before the court to get a new judge or to change things. If that particular judge would disagree with you, you've got a right to appeal."
– Andrew Kaczynski
Here's how Senate Republicans are dealing (i.e. grappling) with Trump's comments.
WASHINGTON — Top Republicans' hopes for Donald Trump to change his rhetoric and act more presidential are slowly fading.
Senate Republicans have been pushing — and basically publicly pleading with — Trump to focus more on issues rather than personal attacks. Now they're losing patience after the party's standard bearer doubled down on his criticism of a judge presiding over cases against Trump University because of his "Mexican heritage."
"Let's face it — 'meet the new Trump' is a lot like the old Trump," Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who has said he won't vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton, told reporters Tuesday afternoon in the Senate basement. "For those of us who had hoped we'd see the 2.0 version, I think the realization is coming that we got what we got. That's not somebody who can win the White House."
Flake went on to say that some Republicans, especially those in tough re-election races, may rescind their support in the wake of these comments, which House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday called the "textbook definition of racism."
"Republicans want to win the White House," Flake said. "But obviously people are concerned about their own races."
South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham who is now calling on Republicans to un-endorse Trump said the party's presumptive nominee "has poured gasoline on every problem" the party had in the 2012 election. "I can understand not breaking now," he told reporters, "but if he continues this after everybody is literally begging him not to do this, then it really puts us in a spot about 2016 versus the future of the party."
Graham recently spoke on the phone with Trump, who had been trying to make inroads with Hill Republicans. When asked if it was still worth Republicans pushing Trump to be more presidential, he said: "I have no idea."
— Tarini Parti
Donald Trump stood by his attacks on a federal judge in a statement on Tuesday, but said he would provide no further comment on the case.
Trump's comments against Judge Gonzalo Curiel's Mexican heritage have earned him widespread scorn from across the political spectrum.
In a statement, Trump said he believed his concerns about the judge's impartiality were a "fair question" but said he did "not intend to comment on this matter any further."
Here's the full statement:
DONALD J. TRUMP STATEMENT REGARDING TRUMP UNIVERSITY
It is unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage. I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent. The American justice system relies on fair and impartial judges. All judges should be held to that standard. I do not feel that one's heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial.
Over the past few weeks, I have watched as the media has reported one inaccuracy after another concerning the ongoing litigation involving Trump University. There are several important facts the public should know and that the media has failed to report.
Throughout the litigation my attorneys have continually demonstrated that students who participated in Trump University were provided a substantive, valuable education based upon a curriculum developed by professors from Northwestern University, Columbia Business School, Stanford University and other respected institutions. And, the response from students was overwhelming. Over a five year period, more than 10,000 paying students filled out surveys giving the courses high marks and expressing their overwhelming satisfaction with Trump University's programs. For example:
*Former student Tarla Makaeff, the original plaintiff in the litigation, not only completed multiple surveys rating Trump University's three-day seminar "excellent" in every category, but also praised Trump University's mentorship program in a glowing 5 plus minute video testimonial. When asked "how could Trump University help to meet [her] goals", she simply stated "[c]ontinue to offer great classes." Once the plaintiffs' lawyers realized how disastrous a witness she was, they asked to have her removed from the case. Over my lawyers' objections, the judge granted the plaintiffs' motion, but allowed the case to continue.
*Art Cohen, a lead plaintiffs in the litigation, completed a survey in which he not only rated Trump University's three-day seminar "excellent" in virtually every category, but went so far as to indicate that he would "attend another Trump University seminar" and even "recommend Trump University seminars to a friend." When asked how Trump University could improve the seminar, Mr. Cohen's only suggestion was to "[h]ave lunch sandwiches brought in" and make the lunch break 45 minutes.
*Former student Bob Giullo, who has been critical of Trump University in numerous interviews and negative advertisements from my political opponents, also expressed his satisfaction, rating Trump University's programs "excellent" in every category. When asked how Trump University could improve its programs, Mr. Giullo simply asked that students be provided "more comfortable chairs."
Indeed, these are just a few of literally thousands of positive surveys, all of which can be viewed online at www.98percentapproval.com.
For those students who decided that Trump University's programs were not for them, the company had a generous refund policy, offering a full refund to any student who asked for their money back within 3 days of signing up for a program or by the end of the first day of any multi-day program, whichever came later.
Normally, legal issues in a civil case would be heard in a neutral environment. However, given my unique circumstances as nominee of the Republican Party and the core issues of my campaign that focus on illegal immigration, jobs and unfair trade, I have concerns as to my ability to receive a fair trial.
I am fighting hard to bring jobs back to the United States. Many companies – like Ford, General Motors, Nabisco, Carrier – are moving production to Mexico. Drugs and illegal immigrants are also pouring across our border. This is bad for all Americans, regardless of their heritage.
Due to what I believe are unfair and mistaken rulings in this case and the Judge's reported associations with certain professional organizations, questions were raised regarding the Obama appointed Judge's impartiality. It is a fair question. I hope it is not the case.
While this lawsuit should have been dismissed, it is now scheduled for trial in November. I do not intend to comment on this matter any further. With all of the thousands of people who have given the courses such high marks and accolades, we will win this case!
Donald J. Trump
Vulnerable Illinois Senator Mark Kirk has retracted his support for Donald Trump.
Kirk, who is facing a tough fight to retain his Senate seat against Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, made his announcement on Tuesday.
He is the first U.S. senator to retract his support of the presumptive Republican nominee.
Chris Christie said Donald Trump is not a racist.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie cast his ballot for Donald Trump on Tuesday in his state's Republican primary contest, telling reporters the presumptive GOP nominee was not a racist despite his comments against an American-born judge of Mexican descent.
"I know Donald Trump, I've known him for 14 years, and Donald Trump is not a racist," Christie said. "The allegations that he is are absolutely contrary to every experience I've had with him over the past 14 years."
— David Mack
Paul Ryan said Donald Trump's comments against a federal judge were the "textbook definition" of racism.
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday delivered his harshest rebuke of Donald Trump's attack on a federal judge's heritage, calling the presumptive Republican nominee's comments the "textbook definition" of racist.
Although disavowing Trump's comments, Ryan stood by his endorsement of Trump, saying the House GOP has a better chance of getting their policies enacted with Trump than with Hillary Clinton.
"I disavow these comments. I regret those comments he made," Ryan said at a press conference to unveil his proposal to combat poverty.
He went on to say, "claiming a person can't do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment. I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It's absolutely unacceptable.
— Kyle Blaine
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, saying Clinton has "demonstrated her commitment to children, to working families and to a brighter future for America."
Hillary Clinton now has commitments from the number of delegates needed to become the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee for president, according to an Associated Press count released Monday.
Clinton would be the first woman to lead a ticket of a major U.S. political party if she accepts the nomination in July at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
The Associated Press count, which includes of delegates won during the hard-fought primary and a survey of party leaders known as "superdelegates," shows Clinton with the required 2,383 delegates.
The campaign for Clinton's Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, issued a statement calling the AP survey a "rush to judgment," noting that superdelegates can still change their minds ahead of the convention.
"Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump," campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said.
Hillary Clinton Hires Julian Castro’s Speechwriter
Hillary Clinton's campaign is bringing on Gregory Bell, who is leaving the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he served as director of speechwriting for HUD Secretary Julian Castro, an oft-rumored vice presidential candidate, according to three sources with knowledge of the hire.
Bell will serve as a speechwriter under director of speechwriting, Dan Schwerin.
Read the full story here.
Newt On Trump’s Judge Attack: “Once You Go Down That Road, You Destroy America”
"We don't judge you as part of a group," Gingrich said of Trump's attack on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel's heritage. "That would be to suggest blacks can't get a fair white judge, whites can't get a fair black judge. Asians can get a fair judge unless they're Asian and by the way, Asian means if you're Chinese, it has to be a Chinese judge because Vietnamese, while they're Asian, aren't Chinese. Once you go down that road, you destroy America."
Read the full story here.
Clinton On Becoming First Woman Nominee: "It's Very Emotional"
During a press availability in Compton, California, Hillary Clinton was asked about the the significance of becoming the first woman to be named the presumptive nominee of a major political party, which is expected to occur on Tuesday.
Q: In Sacramento there was a woman standing next to me who was absolutely sobbing. She said, 'It's time. It's past time.' You see people here, and people just come up to you and they get tears in their eyes. Do you feel the weight of what this means for people?
CLINTON: I do. I do. And you saw it yesterday. I've seen it for more than a year. My supporters are passionate. They are committed. They have voted for me in great numbers across our country for many reasons. But among those reasons is their belief that having a woman president will make a great statement, a historic statement about what kind of country we are, what we stand for. It's really emotional. And I am someone who has been very touched and really encouraged by this extraordinary conviction that people have. It's predominantly women and girls, but not exclusively — men bring their daughters to meet me and tell me that they are supporting me because of their daughters. And I do think that it will make a very big difference for a father or a mother to be able to look at their daughter just like they can look at their son and say, 'You can be anything you want to be in this country, including president of the United States.'
Here's A Quick Roundup Of Some Recent BuzzFeed News Political Reporting
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he completely disagrees with comments made by Donald Trump accusing the judge who presides over the fraud case against Trump University of a conflict of interest because of his "Mexican heritage."
Ryan, who endorsed Trump on Thursday, told WISN's Up Front With Vicki McKenna: "Look, the comment about the judge the other day just was out of left field for my mind. It's reasoning I don't relate to. I completely disagree with the thinking behind that."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declined this weekend to comment on Donald Trump's comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who Trump said was incapable of presiding over the fraud case against Trump University because of a conflict of interest caused by his "Mexican heritage."
BuzzFeed News sent several emails to Christie's personal email asking for comment on Trump's comments. A Christie spokesman, Brian Murray, then emailed BuzzFeed News asking BuzzFeed News to no longer to email the governor's address.
"If you need to contact Gov. Christie or obtain any type of response from him on any official matter, please contact me and my staff," said Murray. "Please discontinue directly emailing the governor's front office."
Historically, Democrats have waited until after there's a nominee to start significant black voter mobilization efforts. Typically, it begins just a few weeks out from Election Day.
So far, some state parties and campaign operatives are starting to do more robust outreach efforts, the Democratic National Committee is set to unveil a leadership council focused on the issue, and the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities has tasked two veteran black media operatives with targeting Donald Trump.
But with Trump on the ballot — and Barack Obama off it — some Democrats want the serious general election efforts to begin a lot earlier, and worry that they aren't.
Donald Trump admitted on Sunday that he supported some type of U.S. intervention in Libya in 2011, but qualified that he never supported "strong intervention."
Trump has claimed throughout the campaign that he would have opposed the Libyan intervention in 2011 and that the country would be better off if Muammar Qadhafi were still in power. As BuzzFeed News first reported earlier this year, Trump, on his blog and in appearances on cable news, pushed for intervening in Libya in 2011 on humanitarian grounds.