An unorthodox presidential primary took another odd turn Tuesday night, when Donald Trump held a subdued press conference as returns showed him winning most of the “Super Tuesday” states.
Trump’s closest primary challengers, meanwhile, vowed to remain in the race despite the front-runner’s growing delegate count.
“We’re going to make America great again, folks,” the bombastic billionaire said to a crowd of mostly reporters from a stage in Palm Beach, Florida.
By late Tuesday night Trump had won at least six “Super Tuesday” states while Cruz won two, Texas and Oklahoma. Rubio was expected to win Minnesota, where he was enjoying a 10-point lead.
Trump made a brief speech then took questions from the media while opponents Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio held rallies in front of supporters.
Despite being far behind, Rubio said from a Florida stage that he was remaining in the race as the crowd of supporters chanted, “USA! USA!”
Cruz was on better ground after wins in Oklahoma and his home state of Texas, where he asked Rubio – without naming him – and his supporters to unite behind Cruz as the campaign moves forward.
“That is the only way to defeat Donald Trump,” Cruz, surrounded by supporters, said as returns showed Trump’s delegate count growing.
After the Cruz rally concluded, Rubio told Fox News his campaign never claimed it would “surge” on Super Tuesday but only planned to do well.
Fox News hosts Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier pressed Rubio on his lack of wins, including his home state of Florida where Trump is leading in polls. Baier noted that Gov. John Kasich claims Rubio’s presence is hurting Kasich.
Rubio referred to Kasich as an “asterisk” in the GOP primary and vowed to fight Trump in Florida, insisting that the polls there are wrong.
Trump, meanwhile, told reporters and a small group of vocal supporters that America is “going to hell” and he hopes to unify the Republican Party in coming weeks.