Tuesday 16 January 2018

Trump warns of 'riots' if he's denied nomination

A Trump supporter in Florida
A Trump supporter in Florida
Marco Rubio hugs his family after he announced in Miami he is suspending his presidential campaign.

Ruth Sherlock

Donald Trump warned yesterday that "riots" may break out across America if he is denied the Republican presidential nomination, despite having won most of the party's primary and caucus elections.

Buoyant from victories in three more important voting states, Mr Trump warned against a Republican campaign to prevent him from becoming the nominee.

"We're way ahead of everybody. I don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically," Mr Trump said. "I think you would have riots," he added. "You know, I'm representing many, many millions of people."

Read More: Rubio's bid never recovered from 'small hands' jibe

On Tuesday, Mr Trump won Illinois, North Carolina and, most crucially, Florida, dealing a fatal blow to Marco Rubio in his home state. It marked a historic moment in what is proving to be a primary quite unlike anything that has gone before it.

Maverick politicians have been a staple feature of presidential races, but rarely has one made it so far.

Party elites and top financiers had put their hopes in Mr Rubio, feted as their saviour, in the belief that the public's fascination with Mr Trump would dwindle, and that, ultimately, they would settle for the establishment man.

Read More: Donald Trump rolls on towards White House as Marco Rubio pulls out of race

But when Mr Trump beat Mr Rubio - the son of Cuban immigrants and the youngest in the field at 44 - by almost double digits in Florida, a state with a large Latino population, the state senator had no choice but to resign from the race. In an emotional concession speech, Mr Rubio said he was bowing out because this was not the year for a campaign run on "hope".

"After tonight, it is clear that while we are on the right side, this year we will not be on the winning side," Mr Rubio told supporters.

He blamed the political establishment for his loss, saying: "America is in the midst of a big political storm - a tsunami - and we should have seen it coming."

He attacked Mr Trump for taking the "easy route" by playing on people's concerns about the American economy.

"The politics of resentment against other people will not just leave us a fractured party - they're going to leave us a fractured nation."

With their candidate gone, and John Kasich - the only remaining centre-Right choice remaining in the race - barely clinging on, the Republican establishment must decide whether to back Mr Trump.

Mr Trump now needs to win about 55pc of the roughly 1,100 delegates still up for grabs in state-by-state nominating contests to guarantee the nomination.

In a round of interviews yesterday morning, Mr Trump suggested that top Republican figures, including Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives, were starting to fall in line behind him.

But the claim was quickly dismissed by Mr Ryan.

It was a good Super Tuesday too for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, who moved a step closer to cementing the nomination with convincing wins in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Illinois. In her victory speech Ms Clinton looked beyond the primaries to a national race against Mr Trump.

"Our commander-in-chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it," she said. "Engage our allies, not alienate them. Defeat our enemies, not embolden them." (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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