Republican presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump, has finally reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the GOP presidential nomination, thus securing his status as the presumptive Republican nominee and avoiding a contested convention, according to a delegate count released Thursday by the Associated Press.
According to the reports, Trump has reached 1,238 delegates, more than the 1,237 needed to win the nomination by a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who said they would support him at the convention. Trump will most likely add more delegates to his total before the convention in Cleveland, giving him a comfortable victory.
His unbelievable and ever imagined landmark achievement, from an outsider businessman turned politician, marks the completion of a primary campaign that has upended the political landscape and defied multiple predictions of failure from political commentators. It now sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign against likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
In Bismarck, North Dakota, Trump unveiled an “America first” energy plan he said would unleash unfettered production of oil, coal, natural gas and other energy sources to push the United States toward energy independence.
But the speech, delivered at the annual Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, went far beyond energy, as Trump laid out, in his most detail to date, a populist general election pitch against likely rival Hillary Clinton.
“She’s declared war on the American worker,” Trump said of Clinton, reading from prepared remarks in a stadium packed with thousands.
Trump delivered the policy address just hours after the Associated Press determined he had won the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican presidential nomination. He focused on coal, in particular, to help make his case against Clinton, his likely Democratic opponent in the general election.
Trump on Thursday said he would do everything he could “free up the coal” and bring back thousands of coal jobs lost amid steep competition from cheaper natural gas and regulations designed to cut air pollution and reduce greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
“They love it,” he Trump of those who work in coal mines. “We’re going to bring it back and we’re going to help those people because that’s what they want to do.”
Trump on Thursday also promised to cancel Paris climate agreement and stop all payments of US tax money to a United Nations fund to mitigate effects of climate change worldwide.
He is among many Republicans who reject mainstream climate science. He has called climate change a “con job” and a “hoax” and suggested that it is a Chinese plot “to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
He accused President Barack Obama of doing “everything he can to get in the way of American energy.”