Having cemented a remarkable triumph as his party’s presumptive nominee Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman, vowed to unite the splintered Republican party, even as he was bitingly dismissive of members who have been critical of his campaign.
“Those people can go away and maybe come back in eight years after we served two terms,” he said. “Honestly, there are some people I really don’t want.”
Trump’s challenge in uniting Republicans is clear. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell issued a frosty statement saying he had committed to backing the Republican nominee and noting Trump’s “obligation” to bring the party together.
And in a remarkable move, the last two Republicans to occupy the Oval Office — president George HW Bush and president George W Bush — made clear they would not be helping Trump win the White House.
Hillary Clinton, in her first remarks since Trump’s new status was crystalised, said she was more than prepared to handle the kind of deeply personal attacks that helped defeat Trump’s Republican rivals.
“To me, this is the classic case of a blustering, bullying guy,” the all-but-certain Democratic nominee said.
The long and chaotic Republican primary came to an abrupt end after Trump’s decisive victory on Tuesday in Indiana. His win pushed Texas Senator Ted Cruz, his closest rival, out of the race, with John Kasich following the exit door hours later.
Trump’s takeover of the GOP marks one of the most stunning political feats in modern political history.
A first-time candidate, he eschewed traditional fundraising and relied more on his own star power. He flouted political decorum with controversial statements about women and minorities, leaving some Republicans convinced he won’t be able to cobble together the diverse coalition needed to win the general election.
“It’s his party between now and November, but I don’t think it’s going to be his party after November,” said Peter Wehner, a former adviser to President George W Bush.
Wehner is among the Republicans vowing to never vote for Trump, even if that means essentially handing Clinton the presidency.
Bob Vander Plaats, an influential evangelical leader who backed Cruz, withheld his support for Trump, saying the real estate mogul needs to prove his conservative credentials with his vice-presidential pick and more information about what kind of judges he would appoint.
“It’s kind of a wait-and-see moment with Mr Trump,” he said.
A spokesman for George W Bush said the former president “does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign.” And a spokesman for Bush’s father said simply, “at age 91, President Bush is retired from politics.”
Meanwhile, British prime minister David Cameron said he would not apologise to Trump after he became the Republican party’s presumptive presidential candidate for calling his proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States stupid and wrong.
Cameron made the comment about Trump after the reality TV star vowed last December to ban all Muslims from entering the United States if he succeeded in his bid to become the next US president.
“I won’t change that view and I don’t change that view and I’m very clear that the policy idea that was put forward was wrong, is wrong and will remain wrong, so I’m very clear about that,” Cameron told reporters when asked if he would now apologise. Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones have told Trump to stop playing their songs during his campaign.
Trump does not have permission to use the band’s music, the rock stars said.
Avid music fan Trump has featured their tunes at his rallies for months as part of a diverse soundtrack that includes Elton John, opera and classic rock songs.
The band’s 1969 hit ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ was a popular song choice for his events.
In a statement, the band said: “The Rolling Stones have never given permission to the Trump campaign to use their songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately.”
Adele and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler have also asked Mr Trump to stop using their music to fire up crowds. Trump was said to have been playing Adele’s hit ‘Rolling In The Deep’ as “warm-up” music.
The controversial White House hopeful faced a backlash last year when Tyler forced him to stop using the song ‘Dream On’ during campaigning. Trump responded on Twitter saying he had the legal right to use the song, but had found “a better one to take its place”.
“Steven Tyler got more publicity on his song request than he’s gotten in 10 years. Good for him!”
Neil Young also objected when Trump used ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ during the announcement of his campaign last year.
These 6 famous performers told Donald Trump, “Stop Using Our Music!” https://t.co/tw4NPtNt31— Salon (@Salon) May 5, 2016
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