Paul Ryan, the popular House Speaker, poured cold water on the idea that he would rescue his party from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the main rivals for the Republican nomination, at July’s convention in Cleveland. Trying to end speculation about his ambitions, he said he would not accept the nomination should the Republican race end up being decided by a contested convention in July.

“Let me be clear. I do not want, nor will I accept the nomination for our party,” the 46-year old Wisconsin congressman declared following a trip to the Middle East where he was repeatedly quizzed about the 2016 race. Read more

Donald Trump has a big poll lead in New York ahead of the April 19 primaries in the Empire State. But the mogul revealed on Monday that he has already lost the votes of two key supporters: his children Ivanka and Eric. The pair were not registered as Republicans and failed to meet the registration deadline. “They had a long time to register, and they were, you know, unaware of the rules, and they didn’t register in time,” Trump told Fox News. “So they feel very, very guilty.” Watch the interview in which he also poured cold water on suggestions that he would pick Ivanka as his VP.

Trump lashed out at the GOP electoral process after Ted Cruz won most of the delegates in Colorado over the weekend. The Texas senator notched up 34 delegates in the state where voters are excluded from a process in which party members pick the representatives that will head to the Republican convention in Cleveland. “That is not the way that democracy is supposed to work,” Trump railed. “The system is rigged. It is crooked.” Read more

We know that Pope Francis was unimpressed with Donald Trump after the pontiff accused the mogul of not being Christian because of his stance on immigration and wanting to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. But is the Pontiff leaning towards Bernie Sanders? The Vermont senator announced with pride on Friday that the Vatican has invited him to speak at a conference about social and economic issues – one of his signature subjects. But it turned out the invitation did not come from Pope Francis himself, so we might have to hold our breath a little longer. The Vatican story was a nice break for Sanders who has spent much of this week trying to explain why he was unable to explain one of his main goals – to break up the banks. Here is our story on what Sanders wants to do.

The Democrats and Republicans are focusing on New York, which holds its primary on April 19. Trump is back in force on Twitter after recovering from his disappointing loss to Ted Cruz in Wisconsin. He reminded people on Friday that running for president is not the only thing he does every day. “So great to be in New York. Catching up on many things (remember, I am still running a major business while I campaign) and loving it!” Read more

Donald Trump had a terrible night on Tuesday, although you would not know that from his Twitter feed, which went uncharacteristically dark for hours after it emerged that Ted Cruz had crushed him in Wisconsin, aka the Badger State. Looking beyond the headline results should make the tycoon even more concerned, as his Texas rival has started making inroads into some groups – lower-educated and lower-income voters – that had been fertile terrain for Mr Trump.

The creator of this Trump colouring book may need to add some kryptonite to the superhero image of the billionaire on the cover. As for Mr Cruz’s image, he likes to make a virtue out of the fact that he is anti-establishment (which has inspired T-shirts like this), but the Texan may need to change his tune now that the establishment is coming on board to defeat Trump. Read more

Donald Trump is clearly not satisfied with simply being the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. Watch the video he tweeted out today, which suggests that he sees himself as Luke Skywalker. His Republican opponents, who are scared stiff that he will destroy the party, might prefer to say Anakin Skywalker.Trump is facing the prospect of losing to Ted Cruz in the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday. That would increase the odds of a contested convention in July, which in turn would raise GOP hopes that the establishment could parachute in someone to save the party. Increasingly, the whispers in Washington are about Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has denied wanting the job, but has chastised Trump on several occasions recently. Read more

Ted Cruz is famous for having almost zero friends in Washington. But the Texas senator seems happy with that situation and is not about to add Donald Trump to his circle even after the New York property mogul visited the US capital to attempt to build bridges with the Republican Party. Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday night, Cruz was asked whether he preferred President Barack Obama or Trump more. Here was his response:

“I dislike Obama’s policies more, but Donald is a unique individual,” Cruz told the comedian. “If I were in my car and getting ready to reverse and saw Donald in the backup camera, I’m not confident which pedal I would push.” Read more

The Easter Bunny has been unkind to Donald Trump. On Tuesday his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with “battery” after a reporter alleged that the former state trooper had yanked, and bruised, her arm at a campaign event. Trump defiantly dismissed the claims and urged people to watch the video of the incident, which police in Florida police released after charging Lewandowski.

In a campaign that has made House of Cards seem tame, it transpired that one of the lawyers representing Lewandowski resigned as a top prosecutor in Florida in 1996 after being accused of biting a stripper. Speaking to reporters on his plane, Trump said he had urged Lewandowski to fight the charges. Texas senator Ted Cruz and Ohio governor John Kasich, the other Republican contenders, slammed Trump over the case. Read more

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Donald Trump escalated his ugly feud with Ted Cruz over the two Republican candidates’ wives on Thursday, retweeting a composite photo of Melania Trump, a former model, and an unflattering image of Heidi Cruz.

The Texas senator replied by calling Trump a coward: “Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.” Speaking on television later, Cruz continued: “It’s not acceptable for a big loud New York bully to attack my wife … It is an action of a small and petty man who is intimated by strong women”. Read more

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Jeb Bush emerged from oblivion on Wednesday to hit Donald Trump by endorsing Ted Cruz. The anti-establishment Cruz has now lined up support from three establishment pillars: Bush, Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham – yes, the South Carolina senator who previously said nobody would shed a tear if Cruz were murdered. “I’ve never had an event hosted by someone who three weeks earlier called for my murder,” Cruz joked. Read more

While the US election campaign has provided plenty of fodder for the entertainment shows, the horrendous attacks in Belgium have again ​underscored why the policies of the candidates should be scrutinised. But first, we ​would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the families ​and friends ​of the victims of the massacre. Read more

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As an Irishman, let me wish everyone Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. A US diplomat once asked if I knew the definition of Irish Alzheimer’s. When I confessed not, he said: “You forget everything except for the grudge.” Read more

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(Key Biscayne) Donald Trump claimed that “bad things would happen” if the party tried to block him from getting the presidential nomination, warning about possible “riots’ at the Republican convention in July in Cleveland. Bad things have already happened to Marco Rubio, who lost his home state on Tuesday and now needs to find a new job since his senate term expires in January. To see just how badly the local son lost to Trump in Florida take a look at this mapRead more

After Jeb Bush scared Mitt Romney out of running in 2016 only to be outshone by Marco Rubio, his former protégé, one Republican joked that the ghost of Banquo had brought Macbeth to Miami. But on Super Tuesday – March 15 – it was Julius Caesar and the Ides of March that took centre stage in the Sunshine State. Donald Trump won a huge victory in the state, prompting “Little Marco” to drop out of the GOP race. Read more

Once upon a time Florida was the key state to watch in the Republican race. But with Donald Trump way ahead of Marco Rubio, the charismatic Cuban-American who has failed to live up to the hype, all eyes have shifted to Ohio. Trump abruptly cancelled a Monday night event in Miami so that he could campaign in the Buckeye State where John Kasich, the Ohio governor, has overtaken him in the polls. Ted Cruz has been focusing on other states where he has a better chance to pick up delegates.

Rubio is desperately trying to save his campaign, but the odds are heavily stacked against him. I went to a Trump rally in Boca Raton on Sunday where the mogul mercilessly mocked the Florida senator as “Liddle Marco”. If Rubio loses on Tuesday – when Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina vote on Super Tuesday 2 – he has no path to the White House, unless the nominee picks him as his running mate. If you want a flavour of the theatre at Trump events, watch this video of his helicopter doing a fly-by in Boca. Read more

Donald Trump’s press conference in Florida today was like a Peter Sellers movie. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who recently quit the race, endorsed Trump and said there were “two different Donald Trumps” – the public persona and the private “cerebral” persona who would be appearing more frequently on the trail.

Asked about this, the cerebral Trump said: “Perhaps there are two Donald Trumps”. But minutes later his alter-ego corrected him: “I don’t think there are two Donald Trumps”. Trump likes to shout “Stand up!” to human props at his rallies. Well, would the @realDonaldTrump please stand up! Read more

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President Barack Obama said it was “novel” that Republicans were blaming him for their primary “circus” and criticised the GOP for “creating an environment where somebody like a Donald Trump can thrive”. Here are his comments, made at a press conference alongside Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister. Read more

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Donald Trump is going for the kill in Florida on March 15. After sweeping three of the four states that voted on Tuesday, the pugnacious tycoon wants to knock out “Little Marco” – his pet name for Marco Rubio who has seen his Marcomentum turn into Marcollapse after he failed to win a single delegate on Tuesday night. Read more

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Polls will soon close in Michigan and Mississippi. Republicans are also voting in Idaho and Hawaii, but the focus is Michigan, which has the most number of delegates on offer and may give an indication of how rust-belt states, including Ohio on March 15, will vote. In the GOP race, the big question is whether Donald Trump is losing steam. Ted Cruz did better than expected on Saturday, winning two states and giving the mogul a run for his money in Kentucky and Louisiana – a performance that landed the Texas senator with more delegates than Trump on the night. Read more

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Michael Bloomberg is not running for president. The New York billionaire ended months of speculation that he might challenge another New York billionaire – no prizes for guessing who that is – and the Democratic contenders. The former New York mayor concluded that he could not win enough electoral college votes in November and worried that entering the race would hand the White House to a Republican.

“There is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz. That is not a risk I can take in good conscience,” he said in deciding not to launch an independent bid. Read more

The Republican debate on Thursday ​elevated farce to new heights. ​​Donald Trump ​raised eyebrows when he hit back at earlier innuendo by Marco Rubio about his masculinity.

“He referred to my hands [suggesting that] if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee,” he told the roughly 17m viewers who tuned in to the debate. Read more