NEW YORK (UPI) — After a tumultuous week on the campaign trail, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claimed victory at the end of primary voting, rallying his party with a call to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Trump found himself in hot water from a number of prominent Republicans this week for comments he’s repeated, saying a federal judge with Mexican heritage is unable to fairly preside over class action lawsuits against Trump because of his positions on illegal immigration.
Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both criticized the candidate’s remarks. Ryan called the remarks “textbook racist” and at least two Republican senators withdrew their support for Trump over the controversy.
Trump, speaking before a teleprompter that the off-the-cuff candidate has largely eschewed to this point in the campaign, used the speech to attack Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, as a corrupt leader of Washington’s political establishment.
“The last thing we need is Hillary Clinton in the White House, or an extension of the Obama disaster,” Trump said.
Trump also offered reassurances to Republicans nervous about whether his controversial style and comments will work in a general election that he understands the responsibility of becoming the GOP’s standard-bearer.
“You’ve given me the honor of leading the Republican Party to victory this fall. I understand the responsibility on carrying the mantle and I will never, ever let you down. … I will make you proud of our party,” Trump said.
Trump pledged a major speech attacking Clinton next week, as early as Monday.
On Tuesday, he offered a preview of those attacks, charging she “turned the State Department into her personal hedge fund” by raising money for the Clinton Foundation.
Trump also hit Clinton for her use of a private email server while serving as Obama’s secretary of state, so she could keep “corrupt dealings out of the public record.”
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