It's official: Donald Trump is no longer just the "presumptive" 2016 Republican presidential nominee

Despite party fears there would be more "shenanigans," the roll-call went forward without incident

By Scott Eric Kaufman
July 20, 2016 3:11AM (UTC)
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Donald Trump (Reuters/Rick Wilking)

Monday's attempted coup by forces loyal to Texas Senator Ted Cruz and a swirling plagiarism scandal notwithstanding, the Republican Party took its roll-call vote Tuesday afternoon and decided that Donald Trump will, in fact, still be the GOP presidential candidate in 2016.

The nominating process began with House Speaker Paul Ryan welcoming Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to the stage, who proceeded to compare America to trench warfare on the Western Front in World War I. He claimed that only Trump would be able to lead America out of these metaphorical trenches via his boasts of great strength. "The American voters heard this message and they rewarded his courage and leadership with a huge victory in our primaries," Sessions said.


He added that Trump is "unfailingly courteous" and is "positive by nature," possessing "tremendous energy and strength, and is a warrior and a winner. He loves his country and wants to see it be a winner again."

The chairman of the Utah delegation, Phill Wright, told CNN's Dana Bash that despite "arm-twisting" by party and Trump loyalists, he will be casting his state's vote for Ted Cruz, who won the support of 78 percent of Utah Republicans in that state's primary.

As should be obvious, the loss of his "presumptive" status does not mean that Trump has won over many of those within the party who don't believe he can win in a general election, and Tuesday's speeches -- in particular, those by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie -- will reportedly address the concerns of those aggrieved factions.


McConnell will apparently spend the majority of his speech reminding the assembled masses that the alternative to Trump is Hillary Clinton, whose perfidy is a long-established fact in Republican circles.

Christie told CNN earlier that he will be drawing from his experience as a prosecutor to "make a case" for Trump, which is as close to an affirmative defense as the candidate is likely to receive this week if Monday night's focus on Benghazi and McConnell's planned speech are any indication.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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Chris Christie Donald Trump Elections 2016 Mitch Mcconnell Paul Ryan Phill Wright Rnc 2016 Ted Cruz