Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) lashed out on Monday after Donald Trump accused him and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) of colluding to deny him the nomination.
“I don’t doubt that Donald Trump will scream and yell and curse and insult and probably cry and whine some as well,” Cruz told reporters after a campaign stop in Borden, Indiana. “That has been Donald’s pattern.”
The Texas senator said the Trump campaign was “scared” by the announcement that he and Kasich were banding together in several key primary states in an unprecedented “stop Trump” effort. Cruz was honing in on Indiana while ceding New Mexico and Oregon to Kasich.
Cruz dodged when questioned repeatedly by MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson if the temporary alliance qualified as “collusion,” as Trump insisted.
“Donald is a sore loser. When he lost five states in a row in landslide elections, Donald threw a tantrum,” Cruz replied. “His response is to attack the voters. His response is to attack the people. Yes, I get that the Trump campaign is scared. They’re scared of Indiana. If Donald wasn’t scared, he’d show up in Indiana and have a debate. But he would much rather hide in Trump Tower. He’d much rather stay in Northeastern states that tend to be more liberal than actually come to the Midwest, come to the heartland and defend his policies.”
Cruz called the New York real estate mogul a “fringe” candidate who has been unable to unite the party behind him after months on the campaign trail. In the Texas senator’s determination, it is now “abundantly clear” that no candidate will earn the 1,237 delegates required to lock up the Republican nomination before the convention.
Asked if his alliance with Kasich “subverts the will of the people,” Cruz countered that their strategy was “entirely about the will of the people” and focused on defeating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a general election.
But the pair’s alliance is already showing signs of messaging confusion. While Cruz thanked Kasich in the press scrum for his decision to “pull out” of Indiana, Kasich said Monday that voters in the Hoosier State should still vote for him.
“We’re not telling voters who to vote for in IN, only where we are going to spend resources to ultimately defeat Hillary,” Kasich consultant John Weaver clarified on Twitter. “They get it.”