Less than two hours after the Indiana polls closed, Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race. Immediately after winning the primary, Donald Trump had said Cruz should drop out and "stop wasting time and money" — and it seems that Cruz heeded that advice.
Believe it or not, Trump is now the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for the 2016 race. Surprisingly, John Kasich didn't drop out after the primary, even though he only received 7.8 percent of the votes. The Indiana primary started off with a feud between Trump and Cruz in which Cruz called Trump "unthinkable names". In a last-ditch effort to garner support from voters, Cruz even went so far as to urge Indiana against handing yet another win to Trump. "If Indiana does not act, this country could well plunge into the abyss," Cruz said of a possible Trump presidency.
Despite the attacks from Cruz, Trump continued to keep the focus on criticizing Cruz. Trump called Cruz "not very presidential" after the Texas senator walked away with only 36.7 percent of the votes in the Indiana primary. As if Cruz needed a reminder of losing yet another primary, Trump tweeted about "Lyin' Ted Cruz" and encouraged him to drop out of the race.
Although Trump got what he wanted once Cruz dropped out of the race, the Republican presidential frontrunner actually said some nice things about Cruz in his Indiana primary victory speech.
"I've competed all my life. All my life I've been in different competitions ... I have to tell you, I have met some of the most incredible competitors I've ever competed against right here in the Republican party," Trump said during his speech. When he entered the race, Trump was competing against 16 other candidates. Now, it's down to a two-man race for the Republican nomination.
When he wasn't touting his plan for making America great again, Trump continued to say (surprisingly) pleasant things about Cruz.
Ted Cruz, I don't know if he likes me or doesn't like me, but he is one hell of a competitor. He is a tough, smart guy, and he has got an amazing future. He's got an amazing future. So I want to congratulate Ted, I know how tough it is. It's tough. I've had some moments where it was not looking so good and it's not a great feeling, so I understand how Ted feels, and Heidi, and his whole beautiful family.
This was the first time Trump acted like a decent human being toward Cruz — likely because he feels more confident in securing the Republican Party nomination now that it's down to him and Kasich. Near the end of his speech, Trump said that under his presidency, "We're going to love each other, cherish each other, take care of each other."
Trump's victory speech was the most strategic speech he has given because he invoked this message of unity and uniting the Republican party together. After news broke about Cruz's exit from the race, the Republican committee chairman called for party unity and called Trump the "presumptive GOP nominee."
Perhaps Trump's pleasant reaction to Cruz dropping out of the race was the first sign of his campaign shift ahead of the general election.