Trump: I’ll close deal, win GOP nomination

Trump: I’ll close deal, win GOP nomination

NEW YORK — Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE on Tuesday predicted he will win the Republican presidential nomination, unify the party and expand the GOP map in the general election by winning states such as Pennsylvania.

In an exclusive interview with The Hill, Trump was more confident than ever that he will face off against Hillary Clinton this fall. 


“I’ve been a closer all my life,” the billionaire businessman said in his office at Trump Tower. “It’s what I do — I win. Other people don’t win. I know more about winning than anyone.”

“I close. Other people don’t close,” the GOP front-runner added.

The confident statements go much further than when The Hill interviewed Trump in July during his surge to the top of the Republican field. Asked then if he would win the party nod, Trump dodged the question, saying such a prediction would be “presumptuous.”

Many in the Republican Party will undoubtedly roll their eyes at Trump’s remarks — and not for the first time.

When the real estate mogul first topped GOP polls, many pundits described it as a summer fling that would end when voters got serious.

For months, establishment figures likened Trump to businessman Herman Cain and former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who both enjoyed brief runs atop the 2012 presidential primary field.

They have since stopped making those comparisons.

Trump has led the GOP race for nearly six months, with little serious competition.

Rival Sen. Ted Cruz is, however, a clear and present threat.

The Texas senator’s path to the nomination starts with a win in Iowa. He then hopes to clean up in Southern states holding contests on March 1.

Trump, for his part, thinks he will win Iowa, where polling shows him in a tight race with Cruz.

“Iowa is important to me,” Trump said. “It would be a less risky answer not to say that. I could tell you that, ‘Well, I hope I do well in Iowa’ and that would cover all the bases. I don’t want to say that. I’d love to win Iowa. To me, Iowa is very important.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is also one of Trump’s main rivals. He’s a favorite of the establishment, but he’s not winning any states at the moment — including his home state.

While Trump, 69, is focused on the primary, he is already thinking about a showdown with Clinton. He maintains he would easily beat her in the debates and make Democrats sweat in purple and blue states.

“I will expand the map,” said the reality TV star, who claims he will win Pennsylvania and will have a “real good shot” to win his home state of New York, which hasn’t been won by a Republican nominee since 1984.

“This is my place,” Trump said. “I love New York.”

Winning New York would be enormously challenging. Clinton represented the state in the Senate, and former President Clinton’s foundation has offices in Manhattan.

But Trump argues he can give the Clintons a run for their money in the Empire State. While polls show him trailing Hillary Clinton in national head-to-head match-ups, he believes he is actually more electable than his GOP rivals because of his ability to expand the map while attracting new voters.

Traditional Republicans have no margin of error in the general election, he argues. Unless they win purple states such as Ohio and Florida, they will lose.

“If I win New York,” Trump said, the election “is over.”

He also voiced confidence that Republicans will fall in line behind his candidacy once he starts racking up delegates and primary wins.

When pressed on why the establishment doesn’t like him, Trump responded, “They will like me,” noting he has donated a lot of money to Republicans.

His GOP competitors have noted he also has given to prominent Democrats.

The Trump phenomenon will go down in the history books one way or the other: He will either secure the nomination and confound party insiders who usually get the nominee they want, or his massive lead will evaporate and lead to a spectacular fall.

Throughout the 30-minute interview, Trump repeatedly mentioned his poll numbers and the size of the crowds who show up to see him in states from Massachusetts to Mississippi.

Halfway through, he pondered why media outlets say “Democratic debates” instead of “Democrat debates.” When told Democrats prefer Democratic, Trump said “that’s not grammatically correct” and “so wrong.”

Other issues he addressed in the interview included:

Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The GOP front-runner said he believes Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel: “The answer is yes.”

Trump declined to go that far when addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C., last month. That comment attracted some boos from the audience. While Israel maintains Jerusalem is its capital, the U.S. embassy is in Tel Aviv, and the controversy is a major point of contention between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Trump claimed he didn’t directly address the issue last month because he didn’t like how the question was phrased.

GOP congressional leaders. Trump said there is “real anger” among voters about the omnibus budget deal that recently passed Congress. He said Democrats got a lot of what they wanted in that deal, adding that President Obama is a bad negotiator — unless he’s negotiating with congressional Republicans. 

The standoff in Oregon. Armed protesters on Saturday night broke into a federally owned wildlife facility and indicated they wouldn’t leave until the U.S. government halts its “tyranny.” Cruz and Rubio on Monday called on the protesters to “stand down.” Trump on Tuesday agreed: “You have to maintain law and order, no matter what.”

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