Networks Divided on Whether Trump Is Now ‘Presumptive Nominee’ Or Not

By Mark Joyella 

If you were looking for drama in the Republican race in Indiana, the networks took that off the table at 7 p.m. ET, declaring Donald Trump the winner as soon as all the polls were closed.

The not-even-close Trump victory came after a charge by Ted Cruz, who used some of his harshest language to date in describing Trump to voters in Indiana, calling him a “pathological liar,” a “serial philanderer” and saying “the man is utterly amoral.”

ChkWhIaVEAA-ayDThe loss, Dana Loesch said on Fox News, is going to force “the Republican Party…to do some soul-searching.”


Much of cable news coverage focused on what Cruz might tell supporters in his speech. CNN’s Jake Tapper asked, “where does Ted Cruz go from here?” Would Cruz concede or quit the race?

ChkournWwAAcfed.jpg-largeCruz took the stage in Indianapolis before 8:30 p.m. ET, and as he spoke, networks carried banners citing sources that Cruz would drop out. “We are suspending our campaign,” Cruz said as supporters shouted “no!”

Immediately following Cruz’s speech, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said “I think it’s safe to say Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.” On Fox News, Bret Baier said “as of tonight, with Ted Cruz getting out of this race, Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee.”

But not everyone was ready to use the specific term “presumptive nominee”:

And then, there was John Kasich, who has vowed to stay in the race. Tapper noted Kasich still trails Marco Rubio in the delegate totals: “not to be mean, but John Kasich is still fourth in a three-man race.”

On the Democratic side, the race between frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was too close to call as coverage hit full swing. With the vote split 50-50, Sanders delivered a speech to supporters in Louisville, Kentucky. None of the cable networks carried the entire speech.

Shortly after 9 p.m. ET, most networks called Indiana for Sanders. Coverage of that was exceptionally brief, however, as Trump took the stage in New York.