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After Indiana, Trump Puts Primaries Behind Him; Looks Ahead To November


Donald Trump's general election campaign essentially began yesterday. Granted, he has not formally claimed the nomination. We've had a debate in this newsroom about what to call him. The party chairman says he'll be the presumptive nominee, which is what Trump already calls himself.

Our editors go for apparent nominee. Who knows? In any case, his Republican opponents are all gone. And the conversation has turned to questions like possible running mates. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports on Trump's day.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: He has no more challengers in the nomination fight. And Donald Trump is taking a moment to savor his conquests.

(SOUNDBITE of archived recording)

DONALD TRUMP: Sixteen people that are senators and governors and, you know, high-level people, and one by one they're gone.

GONYEA: That's an interview on the "NBC Nightly News" yesterday. So it's 16 down, one to go, says Trump, likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

(SOUNDBITE or archived recording)

TRUMP: We'll see what happens now. But I think Hillary actually will be easier to beat.

GONYEA: And he talked about the money he expects to raise, though he does look to continue to take advantage of all the free air time he gets. Again, this is from NBC News.

(SOUNDBITE of archived recording)

TRUMP: We want to raise up to a billion dollars, maybe even over that. I'm not even sure that's necessary because I have a big voice. I go on shows like yours. I explain the truth. And people seem to go along with it.

GONYEA: It was midday when Trump found out that his last challenger, Ohio's John Kasich, who's been running a beyond-longshot campaign, was getting out.

(SOUNDBITE of archived recording)

JOHN KASICH: Thank you all for coming.

GONYEA: Kasich was in Columbus. He decided to drop out just hours earlier. He spoke in front of a knotty, wood-paneled backdrop that was as casual as most of his campaign had been.

(SOUNDBITE of archived recording)

KASICH: And as I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life.

GONYEA: Trump meanwhile was onto his next steps. He says he wants another former rival, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, to help with his vice presidential selection process. And on CNN, Trump said Kasich's name may be on that list.

(SOUNDBITE of archived recording)

TRUMP: I would be interested in inviting John. I like John. I've had a good relationship with John. I've gotten along with him well. But John will, whether he's vice president or not, I think he'll be very, very helpful with Ohio.

GONYEA: In recent weeks, Kasich actually ruled out being a running mate to Trump. A lot of names for that role will be floated in the coming weeks as the Trump general election campaign takes shape. Don Gonyea, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Don Gonyea
You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.