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Donald Trump on TODAY: 'Likely nominee' talks uniting the GOP, Ted Cruz dropping out

Donald Trump describes how he plans to unite the Republican party as its likely presidential nominee, following a contentious primary campaign.
/ Source: TODAY

After all but clinching the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump expressed confidence Wednesday at uniting his fractured party but suggested there are certain members of it he clearly doesn't need or want.

"I am confident that I can unite much of it. Some of it, I don’t want. There were statements made about me that those people can go away and maybe come back in eight years after we serve two terms," he told TODAY a day following his crushing victory over his main rival, Ted Cruz, in the Indiana primary.

"Honestly, there are some people I really don’t want. I don’t think it’s necessary. People would be voting for me, they're not voting for the party," he said.

Cruz dropped out of the race following his poor showing in Indiana. Although he lacked enough delegates to pose a credible threat to Trump, the suspension of Cruz's campaign all but clears the path for Trump to be take his populist, but polarizing, campaign to lead his party’s challenge against Democrats this fall.

Trump said that he had heard rumors, but was still surprised when Cruz pulled out.

"He was a very tough competitor. He fought very hard and it was a tough decision for him to make," he said. "I think he did the right thing for himself and for the party. But it was a little bit of a surprise for me, yes."

Trump said the two have not spoken yet by phone, but "I would certainly be expecting to be talking to Ted" soon.

He also said that the Republican National Committee chair Reince Preibus called Trump following his victory in Indiana to express support for his campaign.

"We had a great talk. Yeah, he’s behind it 100 percent," he said.

Trump, who has never held an elected office before, rose to victory after emerging from a 17-person Republican field while spreading outrageous fringe conspiracy theories about Muslims, Mexicans, and African Americans, threatening violence against protesters and leveling misogynist attacks against his female critics.

Follow writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.