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Republicans Wonder If Trump Can Learn To Follow A Script

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And as the two presumptive nominees gear up to focus on each other, each has a challenge in his and her own party. Hillary Clinton must win over Bernie Sanders supporters. Donald Trump has to reassure members of the GOP that he can successively represent the party in the months to come. NPR's Sarah McCammon has been following the Trump campaign.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Donald Trump is famous for saying what's on his mind. But last night, at the Trump National Golf Club in New York, the real estate developer read from a teleprompter.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: Tonight, we close one chapter in history and we begin another. Our campaign received more primary votes than any GOP campaign in history. No matter who it is...

MCCAMMON: The scripted primary night speech marks a shift for Trump. Last year, he had derided politicians who used teleprompters as inauthentic.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: They read the same speech - day-dee-dee-dee-dee (ph). They have teleprompters. I say we should outlaw teleprompters for anybody - right?

(APPLAUSE)

MCCAMMON: But now, as the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump is facing pressure to rein it in. This week, multiple GOP leaders castigated his statement that a federal judge involved in a fraud suit against Trump University was treating him unfairly because of the judge's Mexican ancestry. After House Speaker Paul Ryan called the comments racist, Trump released a statement saying it was unfortunate that his comments were misconstrued. Last night, Trump had this message for Republicans.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle. And I will never, ever let you down - too much work, too many people, blood, sweat and tears...

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: ...Never going to let you down.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I will make you proud of your party...

MCCAMMON: Trump went after the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, repeating attacks on her record as the former secretary of state and promising more.

(SOUNDBITE OR ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week. And we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.

(APPLAUSE)

MCCAMMON: At a few points, Trump veered away from his scripted speech. During a section about trade policy, an audience member called out - no TPP, a reference to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade deal that Trump calls a disaster.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: What's happening there is absolutely a disgrace.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No TPP.

TRUMP: No PPP (ph), you're right about that.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: So and you mean no PP.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAMMON: As the campaign moves into the general election, many Republicans will be looking to see if the candidate who took over their party by speaking from the gut can learn to follow a script. Sarah McCammon, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.