Donald Trump’s first speech as the presumptive GOP nominee was conciliatory, mild-mannered, and as full of half-truths and unverifiable bluster as everything else he’s said over the course of this increasingly weird primary campaign.
He talked about getting jobs for “the blacks” and Hispanics. He talked about the “tremendous job” GOP Chairman Reince Priebus has been doing managing the Republican clown car. He called Lyin’ Ted Cruz “one hell of a competitor” and sang the praises of his “beautiful family,” the patriarch of whom he just got done lumping together with Lee Harvey Oswald.
One person he did not have nice words for was Hillary Clinton, and there were hints throughout his speech of just how difficult an opponent he will be now that his path to the general has been cleared. Trump mentioned Clinton “talking about the miners as if they were just numbers” and the “carnage” wrought by NAFTA, the “worst trade deal in history.” He said he will singlehandedly revive a dying coal industry.
This is the line Trump is going to take across the country. (It’s also more or less the line that Bernie Sanders, who, unlike Ted Cruz, did not drop out tonight, has been leveling against Clinton for months.) Few thought it would take him this far, but here we are. Trump is celebrating a resounding victory over the most stacked GOP field in recent memory. Democrats celebrate along with him at their own peril.