Facing a costly six-month general-election campaign, Donald Trump vowed Wednesday to start raising money for the Republican Party and said he would soon decide whether to do the same for himself.
The New York developer, who has spent months accusing rivals of trading government favors for donations, risks tarnishing his image as an outsider if he starts accepting big campaign contributions.
In television interviews the morning after his Indiana primary victory cleared his path to the GOP presidential nomination, Trump indicated he might not have enough liquid assets to finance what could be a $1-billion campaign against his presumed Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
"Do I want to sell a couple buildings and self-fund?" Trump said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "I don't know that I want to do that necessarily. But I really won't be asking for myself. I'll be asking money for the party, and really it's something that we're going to start on right away."
He said he would decide how to finance his own campaign within the next week or so.
With chief rival Ted Cruz dropping out of the race Tuesday and Ohio Gov. John Kasich expected to follow suit Wednesday, Trump was subdued on his first morning as presumptive nominee.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, conceded Wednesday that it will be hard to unite the party behind Trump after months of his often brutal clashes with fellow Republicans.
"It's going to take some time, but we're going to get there," he told CNN.
On Wednesday, Trump had only praise for Cruz, a Texas senator who called him a narcissist, pathological liar and serial philanderer a day earlier. Trump said he would welcome Cruz's support.
"'Lyin' Ted' is now — we will now put that aside," Trump told Fox News, referring to his preferred insult for Cruz.
At the same time, Trump stood by his questioning of whether his ex-rival's father, Rafael Cruz, was photographed in New Orleans with Lee Harvey Oswald a few months before the assassin killed President John F. Kennedy. Trump was citing an unsubstantiated report in the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid run by his friend David Pecker, and said it was "a major story in a major publication."
"The National Enquirer gave you John Edwards," Trump said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "It gave you O.J. Simpson. It gave you many, many things. You can't knock the National Enquirer. It's brought many things to light, not all of them pleasant."
On MSNBC, Trump vowed to stick by his plan to bar Muslims from entering the United States regardless of any political downside in the November election. "I don't care if it hurts me," he said.
Trump also said he was searching for a seasoned politician with expertise in navigating Congress to be his running mate.
Despite his relatively restrained tone, Trump displayed flashes of the insult-hurling renegade showman who has upended his party. Asked about George Will's criticism in a recent column, Trump called the conservative pundit a dull and dour "major loser."
"Nobody reads him," Trump said. "He has no influence."