Following the newfound support of several unbound Republican delegates, Donald Trump has officially become the GOP nominee.
On May 26, a small portion of unbound delegates confirmed to the Associated Press that they would back Trump. Factoring in their support, Trump has crossed the 1,237 delegate threshold, his overall haul now coming to at least 1,238.
The business mogul could still potentially collect 303 more delegates in the five remaining state primaries, priming him for a substantial total come the July 18 start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015. Declaring his presidential bid from the glamorous setting of his own Trump Tower, the business mogul’s presidential campaign was initially viewed as a celebrity curiosity until he gained traction in the GOP primary polls.
While his fiery rhetoric has been sharply divisive, Trump beat out 16 competing Republican presidential hopefuls.
The business mogul was frequently unmerciful in his campaigning, emasculating former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida early in the race while labeling Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas a liar and implying that his father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy based on tabloid conjecture.
The angry rhetoric has seemingly resonated with a majority of GOP primary voters.
“I think he has touched a part of our electorate that doesn’t like where our country is,” GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard of Oklahoma, an unbound delegate who has thrown her weight behind the business mogul, told the AP. “I have no problem supporting Mr. Trump.”
Trump’s candidacy was bolstered by his reputation as a businessman. Another unbound delegate, chairman Steve House of the Colorado Republican Party, said that the U.S. needs a business mentality in the oval office.
“Leadership is leadership,” House said. “If he can surround himself with the political talent, I think he will be fine.”
Trump has become the standard bearer of the GOP despite fierce opposition from a portion of its most powerful leaders. House Speaker Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has still not given his endorsement for the business mogul.
There had been speculation that the House Speaker would officially throw his weight behind the party nominee soon, but he swiftly shot the rumors down on May 25.
“I don’t know where all this is coming from,” Ryan told reporters during a policy briefing, the AP and CNNWire reports. “I haven’t made a decision … and nothing’s changed my perspective. We’re still having productive conversations.”
On May 19, a survey conducted by Gallup found that 66 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have a favorable view of the business mogul. While that is a majority, it pales in comparison to the party unity of past elections.
Around the same time frame in 2012, former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, the Republican nominee that year, was viewed favorably by 82 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.