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Donald Trump Holds Rally In California Ahead Of Final Primaries

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

After protests in New Mexico yesterday, where protestors clashed with police, Donald Trump brought his campaign here to Southern California today. California is one of a few states that will vote on the last day of Republican primaries, June 7. NPR's Sarah McCammon is Anaheim, Calif., where Trump spoke to supporters earlier today. Hi, there, Sarah.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Hi, Kelly.

MCEVERS: And tell us what it was like there today.

MCCAMMON: Well, you know, it was a lot calmer than Albuquerque. I mean, this was a midday lunchtime rally. There were several dozen protestors outside with anti-Trump signs, but everything seemed to be relatively calm, you know, unlike yesterday in Albuquerque, where there were a lot of police in riot gear and some smoke set off to disperse the crowd - a broken window, for instance. Today was pretty calm. Inside, there was a pretty good turnout - not a full house, but not bad for the middle of a workday. And, really, the crowd was here to hear Trump talk about the things he's been talking about for a long time - immigration, trade - those big themes. We heard him today go after quite a bit his likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. And, you know, today she was criticized in a State Department inspector general report for her use of a private email server.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: She's as crooked as they come. She had a little bad news today, as you know, from - some reports came down - weren't so good, but - not so good. Inspector general's report - not good.

MCEVERS: Hillary Clinton has been attacking Trump over comments he made about 10 years ago where he said he was kind of hoping for the housing bubble to burst because that would create a business opportunity for him. Did Donald Trump address that at all?

MCCAMMON: Yeah, yesterday, he said, look, I'm a businessman. This is what I do. What else was I going to do? I want to buy houses cheap. Everybody does. And he said, you know, this the kind of thinking we need in Washington - people who will make smarter business decisions. He also went after Senator Elizabeth Warren, who's been talking about this theme a lot. You know, she's been tweeting a constant stream of attacks on Trump and has blasted him on this issue, in particular.

MCEVERS: (Laughter).

MCCAMMON: Last night, she called him a small money-grubber. He's also been going after formal rival Jeb Bush. We heard attacks on mitt Romney today and Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, who's been a leader of the Never Trump movement.

MCEVERS: Right, a lot of leaders in the Republican Party - I mean, people are looking to see whether Trump will bring together the party. Is this a sign that that's not going to happen?

MCCAMMON: I mean, Kelly, it shows he is perfectly willing to go after his rivals on either side of the aisle. There was a rumor that he was going to be endorsed by House Speaker Paul Ryan today, but Paul Ryan's office shot that down. They say that he and Trump will talk by phone tonight, so we'll see what comes of that. But, look, regardless, polls are showing that Republican voters are beginning to consolidate about Trump. More than 80 percent say they're going to support him. So it may not matter that much to these voters what their leaders say.

MCEVERS: Right. So now Trump is the de facto nominee for the Republican Party, but he's campaigning in these final primary states, in part because he does still need to secure enough delegates to officially clinch the nomination, right? Well, what else is he doing here and elsewhere?

MCCAMMON: Right. Well, yesterday, he was in New Mexico holding a rally today. Today, it's California. Tomorrow, it's North Dakota and Montana. And three out of those four states - I'll tell you - all but North Dakota - have primaries coming up on June 7. Now, of course, Trump still needs to officially get to 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination. There's no doubt in much of anyone's mind that he will do that, but this trip is about more than that. It's about, you know, kind of a victory lap, in a way, and getting up and telling people he's going to go after his Democratic rival, presenting himself as somebody who can excite Republicans and excite voters.

And it's also about raising money. He's been having fundraisers this week. And he has now agreed to, you know, fundraise in conjunction with the Republican National Committee. And also about grabbing the spotlight and getting headlines, especially at a time after this week when Hillary Clinton is again under scrutiny for her emails.

MCEVERS: I thought Donald Trump says he doesn't need to do fundraising.

MCCAMMON: That's what he said in the past, but this is the general election almost and, you know, a new approach.

MCEVERS: That's NPR's Sarah McCammon in Anaheim, Calif., where Donald Trump held a rally today. Thanks so much.

MCCAMMON: Thank You. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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