Trump clinches GOP nomination with Tuesday primary wins

President Donald Trump listens during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump listens during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump has clinched the Republican Party nomination, surpassing the necessary delegate threshold.

Trump, who had only token opposition, now has more than the 1,276 delegates needed after winning Tuesday’s Florida and Illinois primaries, according to The Associated Press' delegate count.

That makes Trump the undisputed Republican nominee as Democrats continue to wage a contested primary contest between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

This is the earliest the delegate calendar permits a Republican to clinch the nomination.

“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 Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh, who noted Trump has set record vote tallies, even in largely uncontested contests.

“Republicans and President Trump's supporters have been just itching to get involved in the process that will end with his reelection in November,” Murtaugh said.

Trump had 1,141 delegates going into Tuesday’s Florida and Illinois primaries (Arizona was not holding a Republican primary) and he needed 135 more to win. The wins in Florida and Illinois were big because their primaries awarded all delegates to the winner.

Regardless of the order of the race calls, Trump's campaign intended to credit Florida for putting him over the top as it tries to highlight a state that was crucial to Trump's 2016 victory and will likely be required for him to win again in 2020.