Washington, May 5: Donald Trump assumed control of the Republican Party as its presumptive presidential nominee after Ohio Governor John Kasich exited the race and planned for a six-month battle for the White House against Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Trump, who has proudly touted how he has self-funded his campaign, said on Wednesday post Kasich dropping out that he would begin actively seeking donations for his campaign and raise money for the national party, part of the arduous task of coalescing a party deeply divided over his toxic brand of politics, media reported.
Trump acknowledged that he would have to liquidate some of his real estate holdings to muster the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to self-fund a credible fall campaign.
Party leaders are scrambling to stave off a parade of prominent Republicans endorsing Clinton, but already there were notable defections.
The two living Republican past presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, have no plans to endorse Trump, according to their spokesmen.
The Clinton campaign released a brutal video mash-up of Republican rivals condemning his character and fitness for office, while the former secretary of state called him "a loose cannon" and invited Republicans and independents seeking an alternative to Trump to join her.
"Let's get off the red or the blue team. Let's get on the American team," Clinton told CNN.
However, Trump said he was hardly fretting about whether leading Republicans, such as 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, would eventually back him.
"I believe that the people are going to vote for the person," Trump said, adding "They love their party, but until this year, the party was going in the wrong direction. We've made the party much bigger."
Kasich, a career politician whose sunny campaign failed to gain traction in a year dominated by anti-establishment anger, suspended his bid on Wednesday in an emotional speech tinged with wistful anecdotes about town-hall meetings he called "absolutely magic".
"The people of our country changed me," Kasich said, adding "The spirit, the essence of America lies in the hearts and souls of us. You see, some missed this message. It wasn't sexy. It wasn't a great sound bite."