(CN) – Donald Trump knew his victory lap in the spacious lobby of the Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan had to be a New York “moment,” no smaller than when one of the city’s beloved baseball teams wins the pennant to advance to World Series.
At about 9:30 p.m. on primary night, the jumble of sound emanating from the crowd of Trump supporters and friends was suddenly drowned out by the sounds of Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “New York, New York.”
“It’s really nice that the people who know me the best, the people of New York would give us this kind of a vote,” Trump said as he reached the podium, his wife Melania at his side. It’s really incredible.
“I guess we’re close to seventy percent and we’re going to end at a high level and get a lot more delegates than anyone projected in their wildest imagination,” he said.
Although a stronger than expected showing by Ohio Gov. John Kasich in some congressional districts denied Trump a clean-sweep of the available delegates, the billionaire real estate developer’s 61 percent showing statewide did secure 88 of the 95 delegates being contested.
And Trump knew the decisive win, though long expected, will at least temporarily quiet speculation that he won’t win enough delegates in the remaining race to secure the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s upcoming convention in Cleveland.
“I want to thank my family,” Trump said as the crowd began chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!”
He then turned to the subject of his campaign staff.
In recent days numerous published reports have suggest Trump’s staff is in a state of upheaval due to changes in responsibilities and assignments, and the addition of new advisors.
“It’s actually a team of unity,” Trump said of the staff.
“It’s evolving. People don’t understand it. The press doesn’t understand that. They just don’t want to talk about it.
“It’s okay, just keep talking,” Trump said. “It’s very important. Keep talking.”
The candidate, notably quieter and, in the words of one observer, “more presidential” than in other appearances, then turned his attention to the stakes in the presidential race.
“New York State has problems like virtually every other in the union,” he said. “Our jobs are being sucked out of our states, they’re being taken out of our country. We’re not going to let it happen anymore. We’re going to stop it.
“We’re going to use our great business people to negotiate unbelievable trade deals so we bring our jobs back and we don’t let our companies go to Mexico and all of these other countries anymore,” he continued. “We’re going to keep the jobs here. You’re going to be very proud of this country very soon.”
The remainder of Trump’s comments revolved around the recurrent themes of his campaign: Making the military stronger, taking care of veterans, dismantling the Affordable Care Act, and getting rid of Common Core.
Before bidding the crowd good-night, Trump reflected on the campaign in New York State.
“On average we’d have 15 to 20 thousand people. We went to Rochester, we went to Bethpage, we went all over, and you know what? The people of this country and this state truly are great and amazing people,” Trump said. “We’re going to be so strong again. Really. Legitimately. So great again. I just can’t wait.”
He also said he believes the race for the nomination is now largely over.
“Based on what I’m seeing on television … Senator Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated,” Trump said.
“As you know we’ve won millions more votes than Senator Cruz … millions and millions of more votes than Gov. Kasich. After tonight we’ve won more than 300 more delegates than Senator Cruz. We’re really. really rocking now.”
Turning to the next series of contests, the April 10th primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, Trump made a pitch to voters in those states, saying that he felt their pain “these are places that are in trouble … that have problems everywhere you look,” he said and that he was going to address it.
“We are going to solve those problems,” Trump said. “One of the big problems [in these states] is the economy and jobs and that is my wheelhouse.”
With that, the crowd started chanting anew.
“Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!”
“It’s really nice to win the delegates with the votes, you know it’s really nice,” he said, turning his heat on the Republican National Committee and nominating rules he says are stacked against him.
“No one should be given delegates, which is a ticket to victory and it’s not a fair ticket,” he said.
” We’re leading by a lot and we can’t be caught. It’s impossible to catch us,” he said. ‘Nobody should take delegates and claim victory unless they get those delegates with voters and voting, and that’s what going to happen.
“You watch, the people aren’t going to stand for it,” he warned those who might engineer a contested Republican convention. “It’s a crooked system, it’s a system that’s rigged, and we’re going to go back to the old way, it’s called ‘you vote and you win.'”
Trump said no matter what might happen leading up to and at the convention, “We’re going to go in so strong that nobody can take the nomination away from us.
“I just saw a poll out of California, which was an unbelievable poll,” he said. “We’re going to go in to the convention as the winner.”
With that, Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” was once again playing over the loudspeakers, following, incongruently, by Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.”
For all the hometown pomp, Trump actually lost in his hometown of Manhattan, where Ohio Gov. John Kasich bested him, 45 percent to 42 percent.
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