Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Monday slammed Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich for colluding to prevent Mr. Trump from winning the party’s presidential nomination, labeling their effective public alliance in upcoming states a “horrible act of desperation.”
“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,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.
Mr. Trump said Mr. Cruz is in “free fall” after his third-place finish in New York and does not react well under pressure. The Republican front-runner also pointed out that Mr. Kasich has won only one state and still trails Sen. Marco Rubio in delegates, even though Mr. Rubio suspended his campaign more than a month ago.
Mr. Trump estimated that about 80 percent of the Republican Party is against Mr. Cruz and that 85 percent of Republican voters are against Mr. Kasich.
In statements late Sunday, the Cruz and Kasich campaigns said they would strategically shift resources ahead of upcoming states in an effort to stop Mr. Trump from winning the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the presidential nomination before the Republican National Convention in July.
The Cruz campaign said it would focus its time and recourses in Indiana, which votes May 3, and clear the path for Mr. Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico. Oregon votes May 17 and New Mexico is one of a handful of states that will vote June 7, along with California and New Jersey.
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The Kasich campaign, in turn, said it would shift its campaign’s resources west and give Mr. Cruz a clear path in Indiana, focusing instead on Oregon and New Mexico.
Mr. Trump said Mr. Cruz and Mr. Kasich are “mathematically dead” and the act only shows “how truly weak they and their campaigns are.”
“Collusion is often illegal in many other industries and yet these two Washington insiders have had to revert to collusion in order to stay alive,” Mr. 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,” he said.
“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!” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Cruz said after the New York primary that the contest is headed toward an open convention, and Mr. Kasich had already been mathematically eliminated from reaching the 1,237 number before Republican delegates convene in Cleveland.
The latest delegate tally, according to the AP, has Mr. Trump with 845, Mr. Cruz with 559 and Mr. Kasich with 148.