PALM BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) – GOP front-runner Donald Trump added three new pieces of real estate to his growing collection – Florida, Illinois and North Carolina.READ MORE: Man Crossing Tracks Killed By Brightline Train In Hollywood
Trump celebrated the wins at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach.
“We are going to start winning again. This country is going to start winning again. We don’t win anymore. We don’t win with our military, we can’t beat ISIS. We are going to knock the hell out of them,” he told the Palm Beach crowd. “We don’t win at trade, China, everybody, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam, India, name the country, anybody we do business with beats us. We don’t win at trade, we are going to win at trade. we’re going to make our country rich again. We are going to make our country great again and we need the rich in order to make it great.”
Trump beat out Sen. Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida by a healthy margin. With 99 percent of the precincts counted, Trump captured roughly 46 percent of the vote. Rubio had about 27 percent. Senator Ted Cruz was third with 17 percent.
“This is my second home Florida. To win by that kind of a number is incredible,” he said.
Shortly after the polls closed, Rubio bowed out of the race.
“While it is not God’s plan that I be President in 2016 or maybe ever, and while today while today my campaign is suspended, the fact that I’ve even come this far is event of how special America truly is and all the reason more while we must do all that we can to ensure that this nation remains a special place. I ask the people do not give in to the fear, do not give in to the frustration,” Rubio told his supporters.
But Trump said the young senator has a bright political future.
“I want to congratulate Marco Rubio on having run a really tough campaign. He’s tough, he’s smart and he’s got a great future,” Trump said.
Florida voters gave 99 Republican delegates in the race for president. The Florida GOP primary is considered a pivotal moment in the campaign: The winner-takes-all contest means a huge boost.
Even before Trump’s victory was called, a group of conservative leaders called for a meeting to discuss options for blocking his path to the Republican nomination — including the possibility of rallying around a third-party candidate. They could also get behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich who won his home state.READ MORE: Miami's Overheated Home Prices Continue While Experts Say Red Hot Housing Market Starting To Losing Steam
But that plan needs to formulate fast as Trump went on to pick up North Carolina.
He then added Illinois, which didn’t seem hampered by the canceled Chicago rally a week earlier.
Trump said the constant negativity against him has reached extraordinary levels.
“I have to say nobody has ever, ever, in the history of politics, received the kind of negative advertising that I have. Record, record, record. Mostly false, vicious, horrible. They say it was $18 million the first week and $25 million which added up to over $40 million. Can you explain to me… because I can’t… my numbers went up. I don’t understand. Nobody understands it,” he said.
Trump wrapped up the conference with familiar rhetoric.
“So again I just want to congratulate everybody. This is a very interesting process. It’s an amazing process. It’s very tough but if you get to the end, you can handle anything including pressure that I can tell you. There’s nothing like it, lies, deceit, viciousness, disgusting reporters, horrible people,” as he pointed at the crowd and they responded with a cheer and a laugh. He added, “Some are nice.”
If Trump goes on to win the nomination, it looks like he will be facing Hillary Clinton.
The Democratic front-runner beat Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.
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