Trump’s win, following his victory in New Hampshire earlier this month and a second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, gives the former reality television star a critical burst of momentum heading into Nevada’s Republican caucuses Tuesday and the slate of 13 states voting on Super Tuesday, March 1.
His performance could unnerve the Republican establishment, since South Carolina has sided with the eventual nominee in every GOP presidential race since 1980, apart from 2012. And, following his risky attack on George W. Bush’s handling of terrorism and the Iraq War, Trump’s win provides more evidence that he can take positions that would undermine virtually any other politician.
“I want to begin by thanking the people of South Carolina,” Trump said in a victory speech. “This is a special night.”
His wife, Melania, made rare public remarks.
“I want to say congratulations to my husband,” she said, noting that he’s “been working very hard.”
She added: “We love you and we are going ahead to Nevada.”