Trump Caters to Coal Country in West Virginia Rally

ABC News(CHARLESTON, W. Va.) -- Before Donald Trump came out to stage at the Charleston Civic Center, it was clear where the crowd’s support was going. Chants of “We want Trump!” rang through the audience.

“TRUMP DIGS COAL,” signs were scattered through Charleston Civic Center Thursday evening.

One day after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump made his first campaign stop in the Mountain State, with a targeted message geared towards miners and the coal industry.

“I am thinking about the miners all over this country. We’re going to put the miners back to work,” Trump said, calling on the miners who were in the crowd of thousands to stand up. “We are going to get those mines open. Oh, coal country. What they have done.”

His all but official pivot to the general election was apparent in the crowd, who greeted the real-estate mogul with ecstatic cheers and the West Virginia-rooted John Denver song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads."

Trump has long promised to become more “presidential” but tonight, this was the same Trump as always.

He delivered his usual message about trade and China, promising to build the wall. The New York businessman also addressed his Democratic rival, hitting her for past comments vowing to put the coal industry out of business.

“She said 'I'm going to put the miners and the mines out of business.' And then she comes over and she tried to explain her statement. That is a tough one to explain. Wouldn’t you say?” he asked.

It was a preview of the general election battle that is soon to come, one that will surely be rife with attacks, both personal and professional. But, for some voters, they were just happy that a contentious primary season had come to an end; happy their candidate made it to the finish line.

Phillip Baisden, 45, of Huttonsville, West Virginia was laid off from a coal-industry job, which he blames on “Democratic President Obama.” Baisden, along with his wife and five children, believe and hope Trump will bring jobs back to his state.

Baisden, decked out in Trump paraphernalia was overjoyed, but admits he didn’t believe Trump had a fighting chance when he announced his run for the White House in June.

“When he first publicly announced that he was going to run for president, it was interesting, but I didn't think he had a chance,” Baisden told ABC News. “I really thought there was no way.”

Bob Goines, 63, of Logan, West Virginia, worked in the West Virginia coal mines for 32 years before retiring. He and his sister waited for three hours in the rain to see the man who Goines says he has supported for six months now. He, too, admits he’s surprised Trump has made it this far.

“I am totally shocked because when this first started and there were 17 candidates out there I told my wife there was no way in Hades that Trump would ever get this far,” Goines remembered. “It is just shocking for me to be here. This is witnessing history because he’s done something no one has ever done before.

Meanwhile, Rob Simmons, a veteran said that he always knew the businessman would prevail.

“Watch his face watch his expressions, he’s got the expressions of a man that is secure in what he says and does. He is a man that wants the truth said about this government, this country,” Simmons said, a smile brightening his face.

Simmons praised the businessman for being self-funded, a once core tenant of Trump’s campaign. But, Thursday evening, Trump told the crowd that he would accept donations for his general election campaign.

Nonetheless, many supporters aren’t swayed, praising the candidate's “character” and “honesty,” admiring the fact that their next president has no “hidden agenda” and won’t be beholden to his donors.

“Trump is an honest good man, he really is,” said Carrie Simmons of Wheeling, West Virginia. “His character is a lot deeper in loving people, loving America and giving us, the American people the freedom to be the people that we need to be.”

Wheeling says there is no doubt Trump will be the next president.

“I think he’s a winner, he knows how to win, and he’s winning and I think he’s going to win it,” Wheeling said before Trump took the stage.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Hillary Clinton Gives Bernie Sanders a History Lesson in Dropping Out

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- To date, Hillary Clinton and her campaign have been very cautious about saying Bernie Sanders should drop out of the primary race. But remarks the Democratic presidential front-runner made Thursday suggest she does think her opponent has passed his sell-by date.

While speaking at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles Thursday morning, Clinton appeared to come just shy of flat-out telling the Vermont senator -- who has vowed to stay in the race through the convention in July -- it’s time for him to bow out. (If not that, though, she at the very least made the argument for why she believes he should strongly consider it.)

“I am three million plus votes ahead of Sen. Sanders, right? I am nearly 300 pledged delegates ahead of Sen. Sanders. When I was running against then-Sen. Obama, he and I were neck and neck in the popular vote. Depending on how you counted it, I was a little ahead or he was a little ahead. He was about 60 or so pledged delegates ahead. A much, much smaller margin than what we see in this race," Clinton told a group of black community leaders Thursday morning, just one day after it became clear Donald Trump will be the likely Republican presidential nominee.

"But I knew that he had won,” she continued, “Because it matters how many delegates you have, whether it’s 60 or 300, right?”

Eight years ago, Clinton dropped out of the primary race on June 7, 2008, when, according to delegate counts at the time by several major news organizations, Obama was ahead of Clinton by roughly 124 pledged delegates. The two contenders were, as Clinton said Thursday, neck and neck in the popular vote, according to a Real Clear Politics count that showed Obama at 48.1 percent and Clinton at 48 percent.

Fast forward to today. According to ABC News’ delegates estimate, Clinton is currently ahead of Sanders by 321 pledged delegates: 1,683 to 1,362. (This is not counting Clinton’s enormous lead in superdelegates.) She is also ahead in the popular vote by more than three million votes, according to a count by Real Clear Politics; however, that number does not include all caucus states, many of which Sanders has won.

The fact is, in 2008 Clinton did not drop out of the race until after the final Democratic primaries were held in early June. But at this point in the race, in early May, she was facing similar pressure to concede.

Clinton’s decision to stay in the race for as long as she did then has made it tricky for her to call on Sanders to drop out now.

Earlier this week, Clinton said in an interview on MSNBC that Sanders “has every right to finish out this primary season.” And last month, she told reporters when asked if she understands why her opponent would want to stay in the race, "It’s up to everyone to decide how long they stay in and if we go to the end ... just as I did in ’08.”

Her comments Thursday, however, were some of the farthest she’s gone in suggesting her opponent should consider dropping out.

"I withdrew, I endorsed [Obama], I campaigned with him, I nominated him at the convention, I went to the floor of the convention and moved that he be nominated by acclamation. Because I knew this: That whatever differences we might’ve had in the campaign, they were nothing compared to the difference between us and the Republicans,” she said, making an argument about party unity. “Now if that was true in ’08, that is true on steroids today, right?”

Clinton is setting her sights on the general election by planning travel to battleground states, where her campaign is already staffing up, and focusing on ways to take down Trump.

Sanders, meanwhile, is powering on. He plans to campaign in California and has said to expect a contested convention in July.

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Donald Trump's Impact on Down-Ticket Races Is Already Showing

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump's likely presidential nomination could have a trickle-down effect for other political races this cycle.

The impact of likely having Trump at the top of the ballot come November is already being used as a weapon in some races, and apparently has at least one senior Republican concerned about his re-election.

"Some Republicans will come back to the fold, hold their noses, and vote, but many won't," said James Campbell, a professor of political science at the University at Buffalo.

"I suspect that there will be a good number who will go to the polls and just skip the presidential contest, but there will be many who will just sit out the election completely and this will hurt every Republican candidate," he added.

According to a recording from a private fundraiser that was held in April and obtained by ABC News, Arizona Sen. John McCain expressed concerns about how if Trump is selected as the Republican nominee, that could cause him problems in his re-election campaign.

"If there is a Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, and you’re in Arizona with over 30 percent of the vote being Hispanic vote, I have no doubt that this may be the race of my life," McCain says in the recording.

"The first wedge that Donald Trump had that gave him a rise was build a wall, rapist, murderers, etc. And ... if you listen to or watch Hispanic media in the state or the country, you will see that it is all anti-Trump. The Hispanic community is roused and angry in a way that I have never seen," McCain says.

McCain’s campaign spokesperson would not comment on the audio but did point out that he has campaigned hard every time he’s up for re-election.

Trump's words are also being used against Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, who is up for re-election.

He is being challenged by former U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge, who released an ad that features some statements Trump has made about women and then goes on to call Boozman an "enabler" of harassment since he endorsed the real estate mogul.

"I do think it's fair because when he says 'I'll support Donald Trump' without any other comments, he is enabling and ... implicitly endorsing those comments," Eldridge told ABC News. Boozman did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Campbell thinks that these two instances are the first of many. "For Republicans, a long national nightmare still has a long way to go," Campbell told ABC News.

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Trump Responds to Speaker Ryan's Pledge Not to Support GOP Nominee

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- After House Speaker Paul Ryan walked back from his previous pledge that he would support the eventual Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump is taking on the Wisconsin Republican with a pointed statement of his own.

"I hope to support our nominee, I hope to support his candidacy going forward," Ryan said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday afternoon. "I'm just not ready to do that at this point. I'm not there right now."

A short time later, the presumptive Republican nominee responded with his own dig at the most powerful elected Republican in the country.

"I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda," Trump wrote in a statement. "Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!"

Ryan had repeatedly pledged to support the Republican nominee, telling reporters on March 1 that "my plan is to support the nominee."

But Ryan said Thursday that Trump needs to unite conservatives around shared values and principles before he can back the real estate mogul.

"I think he needs to do more to unify this party," Ryan said. "At this point, I'm just not ready to jump in."

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Petition Puts Pressure on Businesses Sponsoring GOP Convention

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- With Donald Trump the likely nominee for the Republican party, anti-Trump protesters are turning up the heat on corporations that are sponsoring the GOP convention in Cleveland in July.

Now that Trump's last competitors have dropped out of the race, protesters are ramping up their efforts against corporate sponsorship at the convention. "Many of the corporations up to this point have tried to say, 'It’s about democracy,' or 'We don’t even know who the nominee is going to be,'" Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, a nonprofit civil rights group, told ABC News.

Now that Ted Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out, Robinson said, "This is the party for Donald Trump."

An online petition called "Stop sponsoring Donald Trump" started by Color of Change has nearly 180,000 signatures thus far.

"[Trump] is calling for mass deportation and surveillance of Muslim communities," Robinson said. "If corporations believe they can sponsor that and not impact their brands, they have not been paying attention to the number of growing Americans who are holding back their support of him."

Companies have scaled back their donations, though none have specifically mentioned Trump as the impetus.

Last week, Microsoft said it would not donate cash to the Republican convention. The tech company will still provide technology products and services.

"Since we began working with convention committees in 2000, the company has based our actions on three principles," Fred Humphries, Microsoft's corporate vice president of U.S. government affairs, explained in a blog post. "First, we act in a bipartisan manner and provide similar levels of support to both conventions. Second, we make a special effort, as do many companies in our industry, to provide the conventions with technology tools to help enable this part of the American democratic process to operate efficiently and accurately. And third, we do not endorse either political party or its nominee.

Robinson said he is "disappointed" in Microsoft's decision to provide "any resources to Trump's platform."

The Coca-Cola Company is donating significantly less to the Republican convention this year than the $660,000 it donated to the event in 2012. For this year's convention, it donated just $75,000.

"The presidential nominating conventions are made possible through the efforts of the local community’s host committee," a statement from a Coca-Cola spokesman to ABC News read. "Since the 1890s, the company and our local bottling partners have donated to the local host committees of both parties’ political conventions, regardless of the nominees. Our support helps the host committees run these large events and contributes to local economic development but does not represent an endorsement of any specific party or candidate. In 2015, a $75,000 contribution was made by the company to both the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee and Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee. The Coca-Cola Company is a nonpartisan business and does not endorse presidential candidates or nominees, nor do we endorse any specific party.”

Google, the official live-stream provider at the GOP convention in Cleveland, did not respond to a request for comment about the petition.

A spokeswoman for the convention's host committee said it has raised $56 million of its $64 million fundraising goal. The donors that have been announced include JobsOhio, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. The other corporate sponsors will be released as part of filings with the Federal Election Commission and IRS after the convention.

In March, the Republican National Committee announced that AT&T will be the official provider for communications, video and technology. Last month, AT&T announced it will provide free admission to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to all guests during the convention.

“For many years, AT&T has assisted the national conventions of both major parties," a statement from an AT&T spokesman read. "Our expertise is communications, and we invest and prepare our network extensively for events like these. At the same time, we also recognize the important role both conventions play in the functioning of our democracy, and are proud to support them on an impartial basis.”

Robinson said his organization will continue its efforts nonetheless. "These are corporations that we think should be held accountable," Robinson said.

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Donald Trump Eats a Taco Bowl to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

realDonaldTrump/Twitter(NEW YORK) -- In an apparent celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, tweeted a picture of himself eating a taco bowl, a move widely criticized for pandering to Hispanic-Americans.

Shortly after, Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, tweeted a video (with Spanish subtitles) highlighting Trump’s past comments on deporting illegal immigrants.

Stopping illegal immigration is one of the central tenants of Trump's campaign. When he first announced his candidacy, Trump said of illegal Mexican immigrants, "When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best...they’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that Hispanics do not have a positive impression of Trump; nearly 81 percent view him unfavorably. Trump, meanwhile, insists that “Hispanics” love him and that he loves them. But, in his effort to showcase his admiration for Mexican culture, Trump seems to have forgotten two key facts.

First: The taco bowl is an American creation. Secondly, Trump attempted to promote Trump Tower Grill...but the Grill doesn’t sell taco bowls. Presumably, he meant the Trump Tower Café which is selling the bowls, just for Cinco de Mayo.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


House Speaker Paul Ryan Refuses to Endorse Donald Trump

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Now that Donald Trump has all but clinched the Republican presidential nomination, House Speaker Paul Ryan is walking back from his previous position that he would support the eventual Republican nominee.

"I hope to support our nominee, I hope to support his candidacy going forward," Ryan said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. "But right now...I’m just not there right now."

Ryan had repeatedly pledged to support the Republican nominee, telling reporters on March 1 that "my plan is to support the nominee."

Ryan said Trump needs to unite conservatives around shared values and principles before he can back the real estate mogul.

"I think he needs to do more to unify this party," Ryan said. "At this point I'm just not ready to jump in."

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Administration Official Denounces 'Language of Hate' Permeating Election

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A top official in the Obama administration denounced hate speech and discriminatory behavior in the United States at an event commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, calling on Americans to not let “the fear of the other” root itself in the U.S.

"Hate speech has a friend in silence,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said Thursday at the U.S. Capitol.

She delivered a somber speech to a large crowd, retelling the story of her family’s personal struggle with anti-Semitism, following a processional by the U.S. Army band and the presentation of colors by the 3rd U.S. Infantry.

"I do not think a holocaust is happening in America, but I do worry about what is happening when we betray our principles of inclusion,” she said, taking a broad swipe at the rising intolerance the nation is facing. "You cannot tolerate discrimination against others. We are a country that celebrates the dignity of difference.”

Pritzker, who is Jewish, went on to say the current rhetoric being spewed throughout the election cycle is becoming increasingly anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim. While she didn't explicitly mention any candidates by name, her message was poignant and clear.

“Today, in our beloved United States, we are witnessing a rising fear of the other,” she said. “We are better than the language of hate. America is not the tribe of folded arms.”

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Clinton Aide on Trump: 'We’re Not Going to Chase Him Into the Gutter'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- With Donald Trump now the presumptive Republican nominee, and Hillary Clinton also on pace to lock up the Democrat nomination, the Clinton campaign is readying its playbook to go head-to-head with Trump in a general election.

Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon takes us inside the campaign's plans to play an aggressive game against Trump in this week’s installment of ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” podcast.

“We’re not going to chase him into the gutter,” Fallon said Thursday in an interview with ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein.

“You cannot be passive in the face of Donald Trump’s unconventional approach, you need to be aggressive. That does not mean, however, engaging with him in kind," he said.

Fallon says the Clinton campaign has digested the lessons learned by Republican contenders who tried to beat Trump at his own game in the Republican primary.

“So, you saw Marco Rubio in the last throes of his campaign attempt to trade barbs with him and one-up him with a battle of quips. Even if you could compete with Donald Trump in a battle of quips, our fundamental premise is that that is actually going to turn off most independent voters in a general election, so we are not going to chase him into the gutter,” he said.

Betting on Policy Differences

Clinton also has tools at her disposal -- in terms of policy contrasts -- that were not available in the same way to Trump’s primary election challengers, Fallon said.

“We have the ability to go after him after him, confront him, condemn him, on policy issues, which is something that was not available to the Republican field because for the most part they agreed with him on policy,” Fallon said. “So that is our ace in the hole.”

There is one point on which the Clinton campaign is prepared to concede to Trump from the start: the volume of news coverage. Fallon said he anticipates that Trump will continue to grab headlines and dominate the news cycle as he has in the primary election. But dominating the news cycle, he said, is a separate issue from winning it.

“More news cycles than not are going to be driven by news that Donald Trump makes,” he said. “That doesn’t mean he’s going to win the day... He can say provocative things as he has done throughout this campaign, and it will probably lead to news content. That does not mean he put himself in a better position to win the general election.”

The No. 1 Concern

Apart from being prepared for the day-to-day battle with Trump, Fallon said, is making sure that Democratic voters do not fall into the trap of complacency in assuming that victory in November is assured.

“The number one concern that we have as Democrats is complacency,” Fallon said. “If Democrats get complacent, we will play right into Donald Trump’s hands and we could end up with a catastrophe of Donald Trump occupying the Oval Office. So we go into this expecting a very tight contest, wire to wire.”

And while Clinton is still engaged in a primary election battle, with Sanders’ vowing to soldier on until the last of the Democratic primary voters have cast their votes, despite Clinton's commanding lead in the delegate count, Fallon said that's not a distraction from preparations underway for the general election.

“We’re capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time,” Fallon said, adding that the campaign has already begun hiring in key battleground states.

"We're fully aware of the fact that Sen. Sanders is going to remain in this through the middle of June; that’s fine by us,” Fallon said. “We think we can operate on this dual track without a problem.”

Willing to Take Some Losses

That forward-thinking, general election mindset means spending less, and conceding some losses, in the primary battle still ongoing, he explained. Clinton's loss to Sanders in Indiana is the most recent example.

"We made the decision to efficiently allocate resources, and that meant not going on the air at all in Indiana. You saw Senator Sanders spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million there," he said.

While efficient spending may have been one factor in the Clinton's campaign decision not to advertise in Indiana, Fallon also conceded that Clinton is in a string of contests that are favorable to Sanders.

"We're in a stretch of our calendar right now where some of the states are once again suitable for Sen Sanders," he said.

But even with those losses, Fallon said, "the state of the race is unchanged."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Cleveland Could Still Be Exciting Without Contested Convention

iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- The excitement and trepidation over the possibility of a contested Republican convention has dissipated, but Donald Trump still promises to keep things lively.

Trump, who is now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee after his remaining competitors dropped out this week, said he has grand plans to spice up the Grand Old Party's July convention.

"The site has been chosen and the arena is fine, but I'd want to have -- you know, the last Republican convention was extraordinarily boring," Trump told The New York Times Wednesday. "We're going to come up with some things that will make it interesting and informative, but also smart and different.”

He went on to say that he would call upon talent-management agencies, naming IMG specifically, to help. The New York-based company did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

This isn't the first time Trump has suggested using star power to bring in the masses.

"It’s very important to put some showbiz into a convention, otherwise people are going to fall asleep," he said to The Washington Post last month.

Beyond the dates -- July 18-21 -- and the venue -- the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland -- convention specifics remain to be seen.

Looking back, location posed a problem in 2012 when Hurricane Isaac forced the GOP convention schedule to be compressed in Tampa, Florida. But there was plenty of time for a host of politicians to address the crowds before then-nominee Mitt Romney took the closing slot.

Over the course of the three days in Tampa, 10 of the 17 people who went on to run as candidates in this election cycle addressed the 2012 convention.

It's not clear how many of Trump's former rivals will take the stage this year, but because Gov. Chris Christie has publicly endorsed him and has been campaigning with Trump, there is a good chance he could make a re-appearance.

In 2012, organizers aired a pre-taped video featuring Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, though that is unlikely to happen again because the former presidents have announced they have no plans to endorse this year's nominee.

Traditionally, the nominee's spouse addresses the convention on the first night, so it is reasonable to expect Melania Trump to make an appearance.

The vice presidential hopeful addresses the convention on the third night, which happened with Dick Cheney in both 2000 and 2004, Sarah Palin in 2008 and Paul Ryan in 2012.

Trump's campaign has confirmed to ABC News that it has started developing a list of possible vice president candidates, leaving them just over two months to cull the names and decide on a schedule.

Clint Eastwood made an interesting appearance at the 2012 convention shortly before Romney spoke on the last night, but given Trump's connections, it may be fair to expect more than an actor – albeit an Academy Award-winner -- and an empty chair on stage.

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