US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is committed to supporting Donald Trump
’s presidential bid and called on fellow Republicans to do the same.
“I have committed to supporting the nominee chosen by Republican voters, and Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee is now on the verge of clinching that nomination,” McConnell said in a statement issued on Wednesday night.
The top Republican in the Senate publicly endorsed Trump’s candidacy to prevent what would be in effect “a third term of Barack Obama,” referring to Obama’s former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is on the path to win the Democratic nomination unless something untoward happens.
US President Barack Obama (right) with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (AP photo)
“Republicans are committed to preventing what would be a third term of Barack Obama and restoring economic and national security after eight years of a Democrat in the White House,” McConnell said.
“As the presumptive nominee, he now has the opportunity and the obligation to unite our party around our goals,” he added.
After Trump’s commanding victory in Indiana’s primary on Tuesday, his remaining challengers, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, both suspended their presidential bids, leaving the billionaire businessman on an uncontested path to the nomination.
“Now we’ll unify the party,” Trump said. “We’re going to get people together.”
In late April, Cruz and Kasich joined forces in an effort to knock Trump out of the lead in the party’s presidential primaries.
They sought to block Trump from gaining the 1,237 delegates necessary to claim the GOP nomination so that they can have a chance to earn the nomination at a contested convention.
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (AFP photo)
Ted Cruz (left) and John Kasich (AFP photo)
But all those plans collapsed on Tuesday, after Trump won more than 60 percent of the votes and won all of the 57 available delegates, raising his total delegates to 1,047, according to an AP count.
On Wednesday, Trump said he would be open to making Cruz or Kasich his running mate.
“I respect Ted,” he said on Fox News
. “He was a very strong competitor. He really competed hard and tough.”
Hours earlier, Trump told CNN that he would “be interested in vetting John.”
“I like John, I’ve had a good relationship with John, I’ve gotten along with him well,” he added.