Donald Trump, Ted Cruz
Donald Trump has praised Ted Cruz as a 'tough, smart guy' Getty Images, Reuters

Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump has praised his former rival Ted Cruz, despite spending the past 10 months referring to him as 'lying Ted'.

The GOP frontrunner, who pushed Cruz out of the race after polling at more than 50% in Cruz's presumed safe state Indiana, said Cruz was 'a tough, smart guy' with 'an amazing future'.

Speaking to his supporters at Trump Tower in New York, Trump said: "I have to tell you I have competed all my life. All my life I have been in competitions, different competition whether its sports or business... and I have to tell you I have met some of the most incredible competitors I have ever competed against right here in the republican party.

"Just so you understand, Ted Cruz I don't know if he likes me or if he doesn't like me but he is one hell of a competitor, he is a tough, smart guy and he has got an amazing future so I want to congratulate Ted and I know how tough it is, it's tough."

Trump, like the other Republican candidates throughout the selection process, has hit out at his rivals with increasingly personal insults, referring to Cruz throughout the campaign as 'lying Ted', calling Marco Rubio 'Little Marco' and giving Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton the moniker 'Crooked Hillary'.

More gracious in victory than on the campaign trial, Trump paid homage to Cruz and his family, adding: "I have had some moments when it is not looking so good and it's not a great feeling so I understand how Ted feels and Heidi and their whole beautiful family and I want to just say thought that's one tough competitor."

Trump's Indiana win added 51 delegates to his total, bringing him to 1049 of 1237 needed to win the nomination on first ballot, leading the party to recognise him as the presumptive nominee.

John Kasich, who polled third in the Indiana primary and behind Trump and Cruz overall, is now Trump's only rival, and does not have any chance of securing enough delegates to win on first ballot – his only chance for a nomination being Trump failing to secure 1237 delegates, which appears highly unlikely.