Ted Cruz on Monday vehemently defended his decision to join forces with John Kasich in an unprecedented attempt to thwart Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
After Cruz called Trump’s scathing response to the agreement “desperation,” a reporter asked the Texas senator at a Monday press conference whether the decision to team up with Kasich is a “Hail Mary.”
“It is abundantly clear that nobody is getting to 1,237,” Cruz said ahead of a Borden, Indiana, rally, referring to the needed number of delegates to secure the GOP nomination.
“Donald Trump is in real trouble,” he added. “Why? Because he cannot earn the support of a majority of delegates elected by the people.”
Cruz charged that the Trump campaign is “scared” and that the real-estate magnate will “scream and yell” and “cry and whine” about the alliance.
“I understand that Donald will whine, that’s what he will do,” Cruz said. “He is a sore loser.”
The deal between the Cruz and Kasich campaigns called for Kasich, the Ohio governor, to pull his resources out of Indiana, the next key battleground state. In return, Cruz, a Texas senator, would recede from New Mexico and Oregon, all in an attempt to stop Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegates. Both campaigns announced the plan late on Sunday night, but the candidates themselves have not asked supporters in those states to vote for the opposing candidates.
When asked on Monday, Kasich even said Indiana voters “ought to vote for me.”
Cruz was posed a question on whether the agreement taints his “outsider” image with voters. He called his pact with Kasich “entirely about the will of the people.”
“After discussions with the Kasich campaign, we made a decision to allocate resources,” the senator told reporters. “We decided to allocate our time and energy and resources in the state of Indiana and Gov. Kasich decided to allocate his resources elsewhere. I think that made sense for both campaigns.”
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Kasich, who took questions from reporters at a diner in Philadelphia on Monday, also strongly defended the move. He was asked whether the plan was desperate.
“Me? No, I’m not desperate, are you?” Kasich asked. “Are you desperate? Cause I’m not.”
Both Kasich and Cruz are mathematically eliminated from securing the Republican nomination ahead of the GOP convention. The two are hoping that by joining forces, they can stop Trump from reaching the needed number of delegates, as well, triggering a potential second ballot where many delegates will be able to vote freely for the candidate of their choice.
“I don’t see this as any big deal. I’m not going to spend resources in Indiana,” Kasich said. “He’s not going to spend them in other places. So what? What’s the big deal?”
Trump ripped both of the candidates in statement released in the wee hours of Monday morning. He asserted that the latest agreement was simply the “rigged” GOP nominating system playing out in a new way.
“It is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for ten months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination,” Trump said.
Because of me, everyone now sees that the Republican primary system is totally rigged. 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. This horrible act of desperation, from two campaigns who have totally failed, makes me even more determined, for the good of the Republican Party and our country, to prevail!