He has the 1,237… +1. Do you think the GOP will stick by him now?
Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign.
Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention. Among them is Oklahoma GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard.
“I think he has touched a part of our electorate that doesn’t like where our country is,” Pollard said. “I have no problem supporting Mr. Trump.”
It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president. Trump has reached 1,238. With 303 delegates at stake in five state primaries on June 7, Trump will easily pad his total, avoiding a contested convention in Cleveland in July.
Trump, a political neophyte who for years delivered caustic commentary on the state of the nation from the sidelines but had never run for office, fought off 16 other Republican contenders in an often ugly primary race.
Many on the right have been slow to warm to Trump, wary of his conservative bona fides. Others worry about Trump’s crass personality and the lewd comments he’s made about women.
But millions of grassroots activists, many who have been outsiders to the political process, have embraced Trump as a plain-speaking populist who is not afraid to offend.
Steve House, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and an unbound delegate who confirmed his support of Trump to AP, said he likes the billionaire’s background as a businessman.
“Leadership is leadership,” House said. “If he can surround himself with the political talent, I think he will be fine.”
Others who confirmed their decision to back Trump were more tepid, saying they are supporting him out of a sense of obligation because he won their state’s primary.
Cameron Linton of Pittsburgh said he will back Trump on the first ballot since he won the presidential primary vote in Linton’s congressional district.
“If there’s a second ballot, I won’t vote for Donald Trump,” Linton said. “He’s ridiculous. There’s no other way to say it.”
Trump’s path to the Republican presidential nomination began with an escalator ride.
Trump and his wife, Melania, descended an escalator into the basement lobby of the Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, for an announcement many observers said would never come: The celebrity real estate developer, who had flirted with running for office in the past, would announce that he was launching his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.