President Trump officially became the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party, having secured resounding victories in both the Florida and Illinois primary elections Tuesday evening.
In a statement, Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh told The Associated Press the president was attracting “intense” support and record-breaking turnout, even though the primary contests were effectively symbolic.
“It shows the enthusiasm behind President Trump, it shows how unified Republicans are behind President Trump and how intense their support for him is,” said Murtaugh. “Republicans and President Trump’s supporters have been just itching to get involved in the process that will end with his re-election in November.”
According to The New York Post, Trump had secured 1,141 of the 1,142 delegates up for grabs before the Tuesday voting contests took place. The delegate that Trump didn’t win was from the Iowa caucus and went to former Governor Bill Weld (R-MA), the vice presidential nominee for the 2016 Libertarian Party ticket, who has not yet dropped out of the 2020 Republican primary.
While the coronavirus epidemic has made it impossible for him to hold his traditional rallies, Murtaugh says that the Trump campaign is prepared to run an effective virtual campaign, reports PBS.
“The amount of work that we can do digitally and virtually can’t be matched by the other side,” Murtaugh told the news agency.
Campaign Manager Brad Parscale tweeted out a victory message after the results of the primaries were announced, particularly emphasizing the president’s victory in the swing-state of Florida, where Trump officially declared residency last October.
“Congratulations to [Donald Trump] – the presumptive 2020 Republican nominee for President,” said Parscale. “His home state of Florida put him over the top in delegates. Record vote totals, unprecedented enthusiasm & a unified GOP!”
The tweet included a campaign video showing Trump’s recent election victories and features various news anchors talking about the president’s voter-turnout game.
Congratulations to @realDonaldTrump – the presumptive 2020 Republican nominee for President!
His home state of Florida put him over the top in delegates.
— Brad Parscale – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@parscale) March 18, 2020
The same night, former Vice President Joe Biden secured victories in the three states holding Democratic primary, which included Florida, Illinois and Arizona. According to The New York Times, Biden’s “victories over Senator Bernie Sanders effectively snuffed out his rival’s hopes of a comeback.”
In a victory speech, Biden urged the Democratic party to coalesce, saying that he and Sanders — a self-avowed democratic socialist — share a “common vision” for health care, income inequality and climate change.
“Senator Sanders and I may disagree on tactics, but we share a common vision,” said Biden, reports the news agency. “Senator Sanders and his supporters have brought a remarkable passion and tenacity to all of these issues, and together, they have shifted the fundamental conversation in this country.”
Sanders has shown no signs of dropping out of the Democratic primary, and he famously refused to drop out in the 2016 Democratic primary even after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reached a delegate threshold.