JACKSON, Miss. March 9, 2016 – Donald Trump gained two more victories as he swept Michigan and Mississippi Tuesday, creating more pressure on his rivals who are fighting to stop his drive for the GOP presidential nomination. Trump addressed his victories during a press conference in Florida. “It shows you how brilliant the public is,” Trump said in claiming victories despite a week of “horrible lies.”
Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz fought for second place in Michigan, while Cruz managed a second-place finish in Mississippi. All three rivals to Trump are seeking to pick up delegates during a primary and caucus in Idaho and Hawaii.
Trump spoke from one of his golf clubs in Jupiter, Florida, where he attempted to reach party unity during his victory speech, citing record turnouts he has received in many GOP contests, including Democrats who crossed party lines. Trump fired back at one critic in particular: Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee who said last week he could never vote for the New York billionaire.
Trump disputed Romney’s claims that he has had many failed businesses by displaying examples of Trump steaks, Trump water, Trump wine and Trump magazine.
Trump addressed concerns over the failed Trump University and the pledge he requested from supporters, which some critics have compared to Nazi or fascist salutes saying, “I think it’s ridiculous,” “I think that’s a big, big stretch.” Trump also gained a key endorsement on Tuesday from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Trump’s rivals, especially Marco Rubio, have called him out on his business dealings, with Rubio mentioning bankruptcies and the “failure” of Trump Steaks during last week’s Republican debate.
Trump has been reaching out to Republican Party leadership, saying he has “great respect” for Paul Ryan and saying it’s important to make sure senators and congressmen and women get re-elected. “It’s important, as a Republican, that our senators and out congressman get re-elected. It’s very important if we’re going to be effective,” he says.
When asked by Fox News’ Carl Cameron about whether he’s changing the Republican Party, Trump calls himself a true conservative. He lists a number of areas in which he is very conservative, such as health care and education.
“Nobody is more than conservative than me on the border,” he says, before saying he is a smart trader as well as a free trader. “I want free trade, but I want fair trade,” he says. Trump also predicted success in Ohio and Florida, telling supporters , “I think we’re going to clean the slate” and “I like to close things out.”