Donald Trump Declares Open Season On Hillary Clinton As John Kasich Quits Race – Update

UPDATED, 2:25 PM: Ohio Gov. John Kasich formally suspended his campaign this afternoon, as expected, making good RNC chief Reince Priebus’ tweet of yesterday declaring Donald Trump the “presumptive” party nominee.

“Throughout the campaign, I said ‘The lord may have another purpose for me’,” Kasich said at a news conference in Columbus, Ohio.  “And it set all the pundits a’twitter. ‘Does that mean he’s not committed? Does that mean he’s not focused?’ It showed how little they understand about life. You see, I have always said that the lord has a purpose for me as he has for everyone. And, as I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith, the the lord will show me the way forward, and fulfill the purpose of my life.”

Like Ted Cruz the previous evening, Kasich did not mention Trump in his speech calling off his candidacy.

UPDATED, 11:45 AM: Hillary Clinton says she’s the Practically Perfect Politician to run against de facto GOP nominee Donald Trump. That’s because she, unlike the huge GOP field Trump picked, off one by one, knows how to handle readings of National Enquirer reports about her family, insulting nicknames, etc.

“Well he’s not the first one, Anderson!” Clinton giggled to Anderson Cooper when the CNN host asked if she was ready for Trump’s attacks on her marriage to former President Bill Clinton.  “If he wants to go back to the playbook of the 1990s, if he wants to follow in the footsteps of those who tried to knock me down and take me out of the political arena, I’m more than happy to have him do that.”

“This is, to me, a classic case of a blustering bullying guy who has knocked out of the way all of the Republicans, because they were just dumbfounded! They didn’t’ know how to deal with him,” she continued. “And they couldn’t take him on in the issues, because they basically agreed with him. And they didn’t know how to counter punch.”

RNC chairman Reince Priebus yesterday crowned Trump the party’s “presumptive” nominee after Ted Cruz dropped out of the race. That morning,  Donald Trump, in an phone interview on Fox News Channel, cited a National Enquirer story about Cruz’s father alleged connection to JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. “That was reported, and nobody talks about it….I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?..It’s horrible.” That seemed to get under Cruz’s skin; he responded with a rant in which he called Trump a pathological lair, “utterly amoral,” and someone who uses the National Enquirer to “smear” political opponents.

After Trump this morning announced the general election starts today and described her as a White House hopeful who can’t “put it away,” Clinton pronounced Trump a “loose cannon.” Then she called him a “loose cannon” again – four times in all:

“I’ve seen the presidency up close, from two diff perspectives…I dont’ think we can take a risk on a loose canon like Trump running our country… He’s said it’s okay for other countries to get nuclear weapons. I think that’s downright dangerous. H’s said wages are too high. I think we need to have a raise for the American people… He said women should be punished for having abortions. It’s beyond anything I can imagine.”

Cooper noted Trump did walk that one back. Clinton continued on theme:  “He’s a loose cannon. He’s said so many things….You can go down a long list, some of which he’s tried to bob and weave on, but he’s a loose cannon and loose cannons tend to misfire.”

UPDATED, 10:55 AM: The general election starts today, Donald Trump declared this morning, after Ohio Gov. Jon Kasich scheduled an afternoon newser to drop out, making Trump the only GOP candidate left standing.

Donald Trump admitted he had not expected to become the GOP’s nominee before Hillary Clinton was crowned Dem candidate for the White House. “What has happened is there has been a little flip and I’m even surprised by it. I thought I’d be going longer and she’d be going shorter,” Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, of the primary races.

“She can’t put it away. That’s like a football team that can’t get the ball over the line. I put it away. She can’t put it away. I thought I’d be out there, and she’d be campaigning against me. I didn’t realize. So I’ll be campaigning against her, while she’s campaigning” for her party’s nomination, Trump gloated.

Previous, 9 AM: Minutes after TV news operations reported that GOP presidential candidate John Kasich had canceled this morning’s news conference and instead would hold a newser at 5 PM ET, they began reporting that he was dropping out of the race.

That means real estate developer-turned-reality TV star Donald Trump is now not, as RNC chief Reince Priebus tweeted yesterday, the “presumptive” GOP nominee, so much as he is the only one left standing as they head to the party’s July convention in Cleveland. Trump will be the first non-politician since Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to carry a major party’s banner in the general election.

This morning’ development is not that surprising, given that Kasich was running fourth in a two-way race. Nonetheless, the development seemed a shock to the system this morning for TV news talent trying to keep up with Republican Party developments of the past 24 hours.

The news comes the morning after Trump drummed out Ted Cruz from the race, praising “Lyin’ Ted” as “one hell of a competitor” with an “amazing future” in politics. Cruz earlier had surprised many and suspended his campaign after suffering a drubbing in the Indiana primary. Of course, that had come just hours after Trump had described Cruz as “unhinged” following the Texas senator’s diatribe against him in Indiana.

Cruz had not returned the favor, declining to mention Trump at all in his concession speech. Possibly because he’d kicked off yesterday morning — primary day in Indiana — warning America that Trump is a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral” and someone who boasts about infidelity, builds giant buildings on which he puts his name because of his  “yawning cavern of insecurity” and uses the National Enquirer to “smear” political opponents.

Here’s MSNBC’s reporting:

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