At a news conference afterward, Trump said he was drawing new voters to the Republican Party and the establishment figures who are resisting his campaign should save their money and focus on beating the Democrats in November.
“I hope Republicans will embrace it,” Trump said of his campaign. “We have something going that is so good, we should grab each other and unify the party.”
The results were a setback for rival John Kasich, governor of Ohio, who hoped to pull off a surprise win in neighbouring Michigan, and for Ted Cruz , a US senator from Texas who hoped to do well in Mississippi with its large bloc of evangelical voters.
Marco Rubio, a US senator from Florida who has been the establishment favorite since other mainstream candidates dropped out of the race, lagged badly in both states and appeared unlikely to win delegates in either.
Trump said Rubio’s recent attacks on him had backfired.
“Hostility works for some people; it doesn’t work for everyone,” Trump said.
Rival: Ted Cruz claimed victory in Idaho
Trump suggested his rivals had little hope going forward and took aim at Cruz, who split four nominating contests on Saturday with Trump and positioned himself as the prime alternative to the brash New York billionaire in the race to be the party’s candidate in the November 8 election.
“Ted is going to have a hard time,” Trump said of Cruz. “He rarely beats me.”
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The Michigan victory sets Trump up for a potentially decisive day of voting a week from Tuesday.
On March 15, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina – like Michigan, states rich in the delegates who will select their party’s nominee at July’s Republican National Convention – cast ballots.
The Republican contests in Florida and Ohio award all the state’s delegates to the winner.
If Trump could sweep those two states and pile up delegates elsewhere next week, it could knock home-state favorites Rubio and Kasich out of the race and make it tough for Cruz to catch him.
Republicans were also voting on Tuesday in Idaho, where Cruz claimed a late victory, and Hawaii.
Many mainstream Republicans have been offended by Trump’s statements on Muslims, immigrants and women and alarmed by his threats to international trade deals.
Trump said on Tuesday he has not assembled a foreign policy team, despite having said he would have one in place by February, and dismissed criticism his statements would be harmful to US interests.
Anti-Trump Super PACS have spent millions of dollars on advertisements designed to attack Trump’s character in Florida, a state Rubio calls home and Trump calls a second home.
But Trump’s relentless anti-free trade rhetoric and promise to slap taxes on cars and parts shipped in from Mexico resonated in Michigan, which has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing and auto industry jobs.