The Latest: Sen. McConnell calls on Trump to unite party

AP News
Posted: May 04, 2016 8:06 PM
The Latest: Sen. McConnell calls on Trump to unite party

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign (all times EDT):

7:55 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Donald Trump, as the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, has the "opportunity and the obligation" to unite the GOP.

In a statement, McConnell says he committed to supporting the nominee chosen by Republican voters and noted that Trump is on the verge of clinching that nomination. But McConnell's statement was hardly a full-throated endorsement.

The Kentucky Republican says his party is committed to "restoring economic and national security" and preventing what he characterized as a "third term of Barack Obama" if Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton wins the White House. He says Trump now must unite the party around "our goals."


7:30 p.m.

Donald Trump is sticking with two of his most controversial policy proposals now that he has become the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee.

Trump tells NBC's Lester Holt that he stands by his plan to temporary bar foreign Muslims from entering the country if he's elected president because of the dangers of extremism.

He says, "We have to be vigilant."

Trump is also standing by his plan to deport all of the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally.

He says, "Yes, they're going to be deported." He wants to put a system in place that would allow some to return.


6:26 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is taking nothing for granted as California's mega-primary approaches, reaching out to Hispanic and black voters in the hope of waging a final knockout against rival Bernie Sanders.

Clinton's visit to the Golden State Thursday coincides with Cinco de Mayo, the annual celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. She also plans to rally supporters in the gymnasium of a community college that serves heavily Hispanic cities on the edge of Los Angeles.

The event will carry symbolic value. The venue, East Los Angeles College, isn't far from another local school where Clinton kicked off her successful 2008 presidential primary run, and later, went on to beat then-Sen. Barack Obama in the state's Democratic primary.


6:20 p.m.

Donald Trump says he's setting up a vice presidential vetting committee "very soon" that could include some of his former running mates.

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday, Trump said that he has yet to begin to seriously consider his potential running mates.

He says he may put Ben Carson and Chris Christie on the committee.


5:43 p.m.

Donald Trump is revealing some possible Cabinet picks if he's elected president.

In an interview with Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor," the presumptive GOP nominee says he'd consider naming former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani secretary of homeland security, Gov. Chris Christie attorney general and Dr. Ben Carson secretary of health and human services.

He says he has not made final decisions, "but certainly they would three very wise choices."

Trump also said Carson is not interested in being his running mate.


5:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is wooing Asian-Americans voters, saying she looks forward to the fast-growing voting bloc be part of her administration.

The Democratic front-runner says there is "a place for" the community in her campaign. "I want you to be part of not only winning a campaign but more importantly really governing our country," she says in Washington on Wednesday.

Clinton spoke at a conference hosted by an advocacy organization representing Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.


5:25 p.m.

A spokesman for George W. Bush says the former president does "not plan to participate in or comment on" the 2016 presidential race.

The spokesman, Freddy Ford, was responding to an inquiry from The Associated Press about whether Bush planned to support Donald Trump now that the businessman is the presumptive Republican nominee.

While Bush has largely stayed out of politics since leaving the White House, his refusal to publicly support his party's nominee is remarkable. It underscores the deep frustration within some corners of the GOP over Trump's candidacy.

The former president helped raise money for his brother Jeb Bush's failed primary campaign. He also headlined a rally for his brother in South Carolina where he implicitly criticized Trump for inflaming Americans' anger and frustration.



South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she's "flattered" but "not interested" in being vice president.

But Haley, who had endorsed former presidential candidate Marco Rubio, said she will "support the Republican nominee for president" out of her "great respect for the will of the people."

She did not mention presumptive nominee Donald Trump's name in a short statement.

Haley has frequently been mentioned as an appealing candidate for the GOP nominee. But she's crossed swords with Trump — who won the South Carolina primary — over immigration and other issues.


5:23 p.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) is acknowledging that his message "wasn't a great sound byte" and he is suspending his campaign for president.

The two-year Ohio governor and former congressman was visibly emotional Wednesday as he thanked his family, campaign staff and supporters without ever saying directly what would happen to his campaign.

Kasich had perpetually trailed even as the crowded GOP field narrowed. But Kasich was insisting ?— even as recently as after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz' departure from the race Tuesday night —? that he would remain in the race until New York billionaire Donald Trump definitely secured the 1,237 delegates necessary to clinch the GOP nomination.

He thanked his wife, twin daughters, campaign staff and armies of volunteers.

Kasich said of his staff, "Nobody has ever done more with less in the history of politics.


3:00 p.m.

With Donald Trump seizing the GOP mantle, Hillary Clinton says she's running on her plans for the country's future — not simply to stop the billionaire New Yorker.

She also says she's not worried about fending off the kind of deeply personal attacks that took out Trump's GOP rivals.

"This, to me, is a classic case of a blustering, bullying guy," she tells CNN in an interview.

Clinton says Trump has yet to detail his policies and has divided the country with a campaign that is "insulting people."

"He has played all sides of the political area. That's his choice and he can explain it. I've been very specific," she says.

Clinton also is urging Republicans and independents to join her "on the American team," against Trump.


2:47 p.m.

Donald Trump says he's willing to consider Ohio Gov. John Kasich as a running mate.

He tells CNN that he would "be interested in vetting John," but adds that even as governor, Kasich would be "helpful" with swinging Ohio into Trump's column on Election Day.

Trump says he has a good relationship with Kasich, the billionaire's last remaining Republican rival for the GOP presidential nomination.

Kasich is expected to quit the race later Wednesday, according to three campaign officials who spoke to The Associated Press anonymously because they're not authorized to discuss the matter.


2:20 p.m.

The Rolling Stones have asked presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to stop playing their songs at his campaign events.

In a statement Wednesday, the rock band said they have not given permission to the Trump campaign to use their songs and "have requested that they cease all use immediately."

A Trump campaign spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump, an avid music fan, has featured Rolling Stones songs at his rallies for months as part of a diverse soundtrack that includes Elton John, opera and classic rock songs. The Rolling Stones' 1969 classic "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was a popular song choice for his events.


2:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is now 93 percent of the way to clinching the Democratic nomination.

She lost Indiana on Tuesday, but split enough of the delegates with Bernie Sanders to move closer to the 2,383 delegates needed to win.

For the night, Sanders picked up 44 delegates while Clinton gained 38. One Indiana delegate remains to be allocated, pending final vote tallies.

That means in primaries and caucuses to date, Clinton has 1,683 to Sanders' 1,362.

When including superdelegates, or party officials who can back any candidate, Clinton's lead is much bigger.

She now has a total of 2,205 delegates, or 93 percent of the number needed to win, according to the AP count. Sanders has 1,401.

Just 178 delegates short, Clinton remains on track to clinch the nomination by early June.


1:35 p.m.

Make it a clean sweep for Donald Trump in Indiana.

The brash billionaire and presumptive GOP presidential nominee has won all 57 delegates at stake in Tuesday's primary.

He now has 85 percent of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination for president. And with all of his rivals gone from the race, he should have no problem collecting the other 15 percent.

The AP delegate count:

Trump: 1,053.

Ted Cruz: 565.

John Kasich: 153.

Needed to win: 1,237.


12:51 p.m.

Bob Vander Plaats, an influential evangelical leader who backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, says it's "premature" to make a decision on whether he'll throw his support behind Donald Trump.

Vander Plaats says he could never support Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the general election. But he says he needs to know who Trump will name as his running mate and what kind of judges he would appoint before he can make a decision on backing the presumptive GOP nominee.

The Iowa-based Vander Plaats says that if Trump's answers on those fronts aren't sufficient, he'll "look for another option" in the fall campaign. He specifically left open the possibility of backing a third-party candidate.

Vander Plaats says it's a "wait-and-see moment with Mr. Trump."


12:42 p.m.

Seasoned Republican operative Ed Rollins is making his debut in Donald Trump's presidential bid.

Rollins, who was Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign manager, spoke on a conference call Wednesday with supporters of Great America, a super PAC that backs Trump. Rollins has signed on as a strategist for the group.

Rollins says the super PAC aims to help offset what he sees as a huge financial advantage for likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. "They're licking their chops," Rollins says of Clinton's team. "They think they're going to win this thing."

Great America will likely conduct polls, collect opposition research and run television ads in the lead-up to Election Day, Rollins says. First, though, the group must raise money: As of the end of March, it was almost $700,000 in debt, fundraising documents show.

Ben Carson, a prominent Trump ally, also spoke on the call - a signal that the billionaire businessman is more accepting of outside help from groups that during the primary contest he had called "corrupt."


12:10 p.m.

John Kasich plans to end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, making Donald Trump the presumptive Republican nominee.

Three campaign officials who spoke to The Associated Press said the Ohio governor plans to announce his decision in a statement from his home state later Wednesday.

The officials spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to disclose Kasich's decision.

Kasich's decision to suspend his campaign comes after he failed to convert a win in his home state primary into momentum in the chaotic GOP campaign.

The move comes a day after one of his only remaining rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, announced that he was suspending his campaign.


11:40 a.m.

John Kasich has cancelled a press conference in Virginia and plans to make a statement from Columbus, a day after one of his last remaining rivals, Ted Cruz, ended his campaign.

Kasich's campaign is not providing details about what the Ohio governor plans to say in his statement later Tuesday, or on why he canceled his Virginia event. Kasich is facing increasing pressure to drop out of the race to clear the path for front-runner Donald Trump to win the nomination.

Kasich had planned fundraisers in the Washington, D.C., area Wednesday. He had planned to address reporters at Dulles Airport but his campaign says he is no longer going there.


11:35 a.m.

One of the more vulnerable Senate Republicans — New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte — will support likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but won't endorse him.

Liz Johnson, a spokeswoman for the senator, said in a statement Wednesday that Ayotte "plans to support the nominee" — with no mention of Trump's name.

Ayotte is locked in a tight race with New Hampshire Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. Johnson said that Ayotte, who is a candidate, "hasn't and isn't planning to endorse anyone this cycle."

Republicans hold a 54-46 advantage in the Senate, but with more GOP seats on the ballot in November, they are fighting to hold onto their majority.


10:35 a.m.

One of Ted Cruz's staunchest financial backers is signaling support for Donald Trump now that he is the presumptive Republican nominee.

Mica Mosbacher writes in an email to The Associated Press that she is calling "on fellow conservatives to unite and support our new nominee Trump."

Mosbacher was a key part of Cruz's finance team. She is the widow of Bob Mosbacher, a Houston oilman who served as President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of Commerce.

She says she supported her senator, Cruz, because she saw him as giving voice to the American people. Trump, she says, "also listened to the people."

Cruz abruptly quit the race after Trump won a resounding victory over him in Indiana Tuesday night.


7:28 a.m.

Donald Trump says he's planning to accept more political contributions now that he's the Republican Party's likely presidential nominee.

The billionaire businessman previewed his path forward Wednesday morning, a day after his chief rival, Ted Cruz, suspended his campaign.

Trump tells ABC's "Good Morning America," that he "probably will take small donations," up to the legal contribution limits but will still contribute to his own campaign. He adds that he doesn't "want anyone to have big influence over me."

Trump often tells supporters that he's funding his campaign largely from his own pockets, although he's been accepting smaller donations for several months. He says he's spent about $44 million so far of his own money. He needs much more, however, going forward. The price tag for a general election is likely around $1 billion.

Trump also says he's confident he "can unite much of" the Republican Party even though he doesn't want the support of some Republican critics.


6:30 a.m.

Virtually assured of the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump says he likely will "go the political route" in choosing a vice presidential running mate.

The real estate mogul says in a broadcast interview Wednesday that he's "inclined" to prefer a No. 2 person on the ticket "who can help me get legislation passed." He notes he already has business experience and tells MSNBC's "Morning Joe" he wouldn't want to have to resort to presidential executive orders to get things done.

Trump also reveals he'll be making a decision over the next week on how to fund a general election campaign.

He says "I do love self-funding," but adds that he's thinking over his strategy and will have an answer soon.

"Do I want to sell a couple of buildings? I don't really want to do that," he said. But he said that he wouldn't necessarily want a new source of money "for myself" but that the party needs to bolster its funding. He was asked if he would accept money from super PACs in the fall, although he has refused to do so thus far.


5:50 a.m.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has taken to Twitter to attack what she calls presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's "toxic stew of hatred & insecurity."

The Massachusetts Democrat issued a series of tweets Tuesday night as results from the Indiana GOP primary forced Texas Senator Ted Cruz from the race and left Trump as the overwhelming favorite for the nomination.

Warren tweets that Trump has built his campaign on "racism, sexism and xenophobia" and that there's more enthusiasm for him "among the leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls."

Warren says what happens next is "a character test for all of us -- Republican, Democrat, and Independent."

Warren has been mentioned by party insiders as a potential running mate for likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

5:30 a.m. Gov. John Kasich is not abandoning his quest for the White House in the wake of Donald Trump's victory in Indiana.

His campaign issued a statement on Facebook early Wednesday saying that the election results "are not going to alter Gov. Kasich's campaign plans."

The statement adds: "Our strategy has been and continues to be one that involves winning the nomination at an open convention. The comments from Trump, on the verge of winning in Indiana, heighten the differences between Governor Kasich and his positive, inclusive approach and the disrespectful ramblings from Donald Trump."

Kasich has won just one primary — his home state of Ohio — and trails Trump by nearly 900 delegates.

Kasich pledged to stay in the race, with his campaign manager saying the governor would continue to "offer the voters a clear choice for our country."


This story has been corrected to reflect that Kasich is a two term governor, not a two-year governor.