CNN anchor Anderson Cooper repeatedly pressed Donald Trump on Tuesday about how Trump’s GOP presidential rival Ted Cruz had managed to crush him in Colorado.
“The bottom line is the rules are the rules. Didn’t you just get outplayed on the ground?” Cooper asked the Republican presidential frontrunner during a CNN town-hall event.
Trump responded by highlighting his overall status in the primary race.
“We’re really way up in votes in votes, in terms of the voters,” he said. “But the Colorado thing was very, very unfair,” he added.
Trump has furiously complained since Cruz easily won Colorado in a process that concluded last weekend, resulting in a 34-delegate sweep for the Texas senator. Colorado’s primary system is unusual in that it emphasizes congressional-district conventions instead of caucuses or a traditional primary election.
On Tuesday, Trump further bemoaned Cruz’s “shenanigans” in Louisiana, another state where the Cruz campaign outmaneuvered Trump’s team in some of the delegate hunting. Trump won a plurality of the vote in Louisiana, but some delegates became outbound as the race narrowed to fewer candidates.
“You call them ‘shenanigans,'” Cooper said. “Those are the rules. And didn’t you know those rules?”
“I know the rules very well,” Trump insisted. “But I know that it’s stacked against me by the establishment. I fully understand it.”
“You could have had a better organization on the ground,” Cooper said.
“I don’t know if it would have mattered because it was totally set in stone,” Trump replied. “And that’s the way it was.”
Cooper pointed out that Cruz had invested a lot of time and effort in Colorado “going out, reaching out to people who wanted to be delegates, to run the process.”
“I mean, it was a whole electoral process to get delegates,” Cooper said.
But Trump wouldn’t budge, repeating his argument that the rules were simply stacked against him. He further said he would have won Colorado had the rules not been changed last year to the current system.
“You disagree with the process as it was in Colorado,” Cooper said. “But you had months to prepare.”
The CNN anchor continued:
Your critics say it says something about your leadership ability – for somebody who touts himself as somebody who’s an organizational genius, who’s created this amazing business organization, that you couldn’t create an organization on the ground that could beat Ted Cruz’s organization.
Trump again responded by touting his overall status at the Republican frontrunner.
“Well, if my organization’s not so good, how come I’ve won many more states than him?” he said.
Watch part of the exchange below:
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April13, 2016