Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is starting to sound a bit more presidential.
At a Tuesday-night press conference celebrating two additional primary wins, Trump said he’d help other Republican candidates, mentioned a conversation he’d had with House Speaker Paul Ryan, discouraged the crowd from booing Mitt Romney, and talked about beating Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Trump won the GOP primaries in Michigan and Mississippi early in the evening, paving his path to the nomination unless his rivals can significantly shake up the race. Idaho and Hawaii had not yet started voting when Trump went on stage to speak.
Trump started off his speech by indicating his interest in boosting down-ballot candidates this November.
“It’s very, very important as a Republican that our senators and that our congressmen get reelected and that we get a good group of people together, that we keep the people that are there,” Trump said. “We have some terrific people. Not all of them are on my side, but we have some terrific people.”
He then touted the turnout at the polls and his crossover appeal. This was a potential message to Washington Republicans who have long worried that a Trump nomination could hurt their changes of holding onto the Senate.
“We have Democrats coming over, we have independents coming over, and they haven’t done that ever, probably ever,” Trump said. “And with all these people coming over we’re going to have something very, very special.”
Trump also assured people that he could beat Clinton in a general election.
“If I get to go against Hillary, polls are showing that I beat her, and some of the polls have my beating her very easily,” Trump said. “We will take many, many people away from the Democrats and we’ll take many people away that normally go Democrat as independents.”
In a sharp pivot, Trump further sounded conciliatory towards Ryan. Just seven days ago, at another post-election press conference, Trump had warned that Ryan would need to be careful towards him or “pay a big price.”
“I want to thank Paul Ryan,” the frontrunner said Tuesday. “He called me a couple of days ago. He could not have been nicer. He was very encouraging, and I have great respect for Paul Ryan.”
When Romney came up as a press-conference topic, Trump shrugged off Romney’s furious attacks against his campaign. This was another pivot for Trump: He had been returning fire against Romney for days, calling the 2012 GOP presidential nominee a “failed” candidate who was jealous of Trump’s success.
“Mitt Romney got up and made a speech the other day,” Trump said Tuesday as some in the crowd booed.
“No, no. He’s a very nice man,” Trump said to laughter. “I understand. Look, it’s hard, when you go through this and then you get to the final gate and you don’t get over it. It’s a hard thing. So I understand.”
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