Ever since Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich suspended their presidential campaigns, Donald Trump has been treated as the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party. However, the business mogul still had yet to reach the required 1,237 convention delegates needed to secure the GOP’s official nomination.
At least, that was the case–until tonight. As reported by the Associated Press, Donald Trump has now secured a total of 1,239 delegates. This comes before the last primary elections on June 7, which could potentially pad the presumptive nominee’s lead even further and guarantee his ultimate nomination.
The sudden bump that sent Trump over the magic 1,237 number was, surprisingly, the result of a handful of GOP elites–the same elites Trump has so frequently attacked. Though the Democrat Party’s own superdelegates have been a major source of controversy this election, the GOP also permits a smaller number of elite officials to serve in a similar capacity as unbound delegates at the party’s nominating convention. Again, as reported by AP:
The New York businessman sealed the majority by claiming a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the national convention in July. Among them was Oklahoma GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard.
“I think he has touched a part of our electorate that doesn’t like where our country is,” Pollard said. “I have no problem supporting Mr. Trump.”
This news also comes just after Senator Marco Rubio’s announcement in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that, even though he has disagreed with Trump’s politics, he was willing to set aside those differences in the interest of beating the presumptive Democrat Party nominee, Hillary Clinton. Rubio said that he would even permit his own bound convention delegates to vote for Trump instead of himself.
Even as Trump’s numbers continued rising in recent weeks, many GOP officials, conservative activists, and pundits of all political stripes still opposed his candidacy. Their numerous concerns about the candidate’s past comments on immigration, Islamic terrorism, women, and several other issues will likely continue for some time, even in spite of the candidate’s sudden bump over the 1,237 delegate threshold.
However, the controversy surrounding Trump will likely now have to change in tone. The problem now won’t be whether he should be the GOP nominee, but rather whether he should be the next President of the United States.