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Gov. John Kasich of Ohio on Monday fired back at Donald Trump for asserting that Kasich’s recent alliance with Sen. Ted Cruz was a “horrible act of desperation.”
During a campaign stop at a Philadelphia diner, a reporter asked the long-shot Republican presidential candidate whether his pact with Cruz was desperate.
“Me? No, I’m not desperate – are you?” Kasich said. “Are you desperate? Cause I’m not.”
Late Sunday evening, Kasich and Cruz announced an agreement to cede future primary states to each other to consolidate anti-Trump support. With virtually no shot at capturing the nomination outright, both Cruz and Kasich are attempting to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in July.
Trump quickly responded in the wee hours of Monday morning, painting the two Republican presidential rivals as party insiders attempting to “collude” to block Trump.
“When two candidates who have no path to victory get together to stop a candidate who is expanding the party by millions of voters (all of whom will drop out if I am not in the race), it is yet another example of everything that is wrong in Washington and our political system,” Trump said in a statement.
Kasich attempted to downplay his pact with Cruz during his Monday campaign stop.
“I don’t see this as any big deal,” Kasich said. “I’m not going to spend resources in Indiana. He’s not going to spend them in other places. So what? What’s the big deal?”
Asked about how his supporters in Indiana should vote, Kasich suggested they should still vote for him.
“I’ve never told them not to vote for me,” Kasich said. “They ought to vote for me. But I’m not over there campaigning and spending resources.”
Though Kasich testily pushed back against reporters asking whether the strategy was attempting to subvert the will of voters, the governor paused to emphasize his positive disposition.
“But it’s fun, though. You’re all still here,” Kasich said, laughing. “By the way, I’m having the time of my life.”