Donald Trump celebrated his incineration of the Republican Party establishment at a press conference tonight in his Palm Spring, FL, club Mar A Lago, after thumping Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida, taking Illinois and North Carolina and heading toward his 20th state, with stats still coming in.
Having started in a field of 17 GOP contenders, only one establishment candidate has survived Trump’s march, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who tonight won his first and, to date, only state: Ohio.
Trump noted that in the walkup to Super Tuesday 3, PACs had flooded today’s five key states with anti-Trump ads. “My numbers went up. It don’t understand it!” he gloated.
“We have something happening that’s actually making the Republican Party the biggest political story everywhere in the world. Everybody’s writing about it, all over the world,” Trump boasted, declining to discuss context.
The political process has been “really tough, but if you get to the end, you can handle a lot of things, including pressure,” said the first-time political candidate. He paid tribute to the “lies” and “viciousness” of the “disgusting reporters” in the room, adding, “some are nice. But there are some really disgusting people back there” in the room.
One reporter who had been covering Trump has filed a police report against Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, claiming she was assaulted at a Trump event. “Good job,” Trump said to the staffer, standing to his immediate right throughout the speech.
“I”m working very hard, and there is great anger. Believe me, there is great anger, ” the candidate said of his campaigning.
Reitering that “we’re going to knock the hell out of ISIS” and beat China, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam and other countries in trade deals, Trump concluded, “We’re going to make our country rich again, and we need the rich in order to make our country great, I’m sorry to tell you.”
Other Super Tuesday 3 victory laps and concession speeches were pocked with barbs at the GOP front-runner.
“No, no! We live in a republic and our voters make these decisions,” Rubio said, when supporters loudly booed as he congratulated Trump on his Florida win. Rubio suspended his campaign shortly after his home state was called for Trump, as soon as polls closed there at 8 PM ET.
“America is in the middle of a real political storm, a real tsunami, and we should have seen this coming,” Rubio acknowledged.
“While we are on the right side,” he said, “this year, we will not be on the winning side. People are angry and very frustrated about the direction of our country.”
Meanwhile, Kasich, after winning Ohio, promised supporters, “I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land.”
And after wins in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, Hillary Clinton commented, “We live in a complex and dangerous world,” and the next president “has to be able to defend our country not embarrass it, engage our allies not alienate them, defeat our adversaries not embolden them. When we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, and embracing torture, it doesn’t make him strong, it makes him wrong.”
“To be great, you can’t be small,” she added.
Trump devoted a portion of his night to throwing shade on Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly, in his victory speech and, hours earlier, as he waited for primary results to begin trickling in. Probably not coincidentally, Fox News Channel announced yesterday that it’s hosting the March 21 GOP debate in Utah. Tonight’s Trump tweet tirade lends credibility to a report he will not attend, reminiscent of the groundwork of outrage he laid before pulling out of the network’s January GOP debate: