Within 24 hours, both Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich will have dropped out of the race, leaving Donald Trump the undisputed presumptive nominee for the Republican Party.
TIME’s Zeke Miller was on the phone conducting an interview with Trump on Wednesday during the exact moment he found out that Kasich, his last remaining rival, would suspend his campaign this afternoon.
“That’s good. That’s nice. That’s interesting. It’s very interesting,” Trump said when he took a separate phone call and learned of Kasich’s decision.
“So Kasich is dropping out,” he then mused to TIME. “Hmm … That’s big. I didn’t think that was going to happen.”
Now finding himself the nominee, Trump immediately pivoted to the general election.
“So now I’m going to be focused on Hillary and you’ll be dealing with me and we’ll see what happens,” he said, predicting most of the Republican Party would unify behind him. “And I think we have a very strong case against Hillary. As far as the Republican Party coming together, it will, maybe not 100%, but it’ll come together 99% and the 1% I don’t want and it won’t have any impact.”
Trump made clear that he would echo Bernie Sanders’ criticism of Hillary Clinton in the coming race. “Bernie actually said she’s unqualified because she’s got bad judgment and it’s true,” Trump said. “She’s unqualified because of the fact that her judgment is so bad.”
He also made clear that case would rest heavily on trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed by her husband in the 1990s.
“The NAFTA is the worst trade deal in the history of any country anywhere in the world at any time,” he said. “And it was a Clinton trade deal. NAFTA was Clinton. And it has drained our country of manufacturing jobs and it’s been a disaster. I’m going to talk about that.”
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Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.Rogers@time.com