Donald Trump switches focus to Hillary Clinton after sealing US presidential nomination

US Republican front-runner Donald Trump scores an important victory over rival Ted Cruz in Indiana, a win that moves him close to being unstoppable in his march to the party's presidential nomination.
Donald Trump speaks to supporters and the media at Trump Tower in Manhattan following his victory in the Indiana primary.
Donald Trump speaks to supporters and the media at Trump Tower in Manhattan following his victory in the Indiana primary.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - Controversial tycoon Donald Trump called for Republican Party unity against Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton at his victory speech on Tuesday (May 3) after becoming his party's presumptive nominee.

Stepping up to the podium in Trump Tower in New York shortly after his closest rival, Senator Ted Cruz, bowed out, Mr Trump delivered a speech that was full of his trademark bombast but also featured plenty of restraint.

Just hours after an angry exchange of words with Mr Cruz, who was supported by the Republican establishment, Mr Trump sang the praises of his vanquished rival, calling him tough and smart.

"I have met some of the most incredible competitors that I have ever competed against right here on the Republican Party. Just so you understand, Ted Cruz - I don't know if he likes me or if he doesn't like me - but he is one hell of a competitor. He is a tough, smart guy. And he has got an amazing future," he said while flanked by beaming family members.

 "I want to congratulate Ted, I know how tough it is. I had some moments when it was not looking so good and it's not a great feeling."

Mr Trump also had kind words for the Republican Party leadership and party chairman Reince Priebus. Gone were the incessant accusations of the party being unfair to him or complaints about a rigged election process.

"I want to thank and congratulate the Republican National Committee and Reince Priebus who I just spoke to. He is doing a tremendous job. It's not an easy job when he had 17 egos. Now I guess he's down to one. I don't know, is there a second?"

He quickly added that he wanted to bring unity to the Republican Party, saying that he is already getting calls from critics.

"We have to bring unity. It is so much easier if we have it. People who have said the worst things about me… and they are calling us all and they say they would love to get on the train, the Trump train."

Mr Trump also gave a preview  of the sort of general election campaign he is going to run, repeating much of his broad economic and foreign policy message of helping America win again while also attacking Mrs Clinton's competence.

He said: "We're going after Hillary Clinton. She will not be a great president, she will not be a good president, she will be a poor president. She doesn't understand trade…"

Nearly all polls show Mrs Clinton beating Mr Trump in a hypothetical match-up at the general election but the tycoon pointed to the one that showed him with an edge and stressed that it would mark the start of the turning of the tide.

"That's going to continue because they are not going to be able to do it folks. They are not going to be able to make trade deals, they are not going to be able to do what we can with the military, they are not going to be able to do what we are going to be able to do on the border, including the wall."

"We are going to win in November and we're going to win big," he added.