The day after news broke that the presidential campaigns of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich agreed to split their efforts between Indiana on the one hand and Oregon and New Mexico on the other, Cruz confirmed that the two campaigns indeed “had conversations” and agreed to the strategy to divide and prevent GOP frontrunner Donald Trump from securing the nomination before the Republican National Convention.
Cruz revealed from a Monday morning press conference in Borden, Indiana:
We had conversations and both campaigns agreed to focus our energies. We’re focusing our energy on the state of Indiana and Gov. Kasich is focusing his energies elsewhere.
I think that is a decision, an allocation of resources that makes a lot of sense and it is devoted to the principle of beating Hillary Clinton in November and turning this country around.
Separate statements from the Kasich and Cruz campaigns were released on Sunday night letting Americans know that Sen. Cruz would focus on campaigning in the May 3 primary state of Indiana, and Gov. Kasich would focus on campaigning in Oregon and New Mexico. Both candidates seek to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination on a first ballot at the convention.
One reporter at the Monday Cruz press conference commented that some are seeing the move as a sign of desperation from both the Cruz and Kasich campaigns, “And you can imagine Donald Trump is going to use that today as he talks about what’s being done.”
Listen, I don’t doubt that Donald Trump is going to scream and yell and curse and insult and probably cry and whine some as well, that has been Donald’s pattern. Now I recognize everyone got all excited because last week Donald won his home state.
Trump responded on Sunday night with both Tweets and a full statement, calling the move an act of collusion and “desperation.”
Cruz cited his “landslide” wins in Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, where he said he won 1.3 million votes.
I won more votes in the state of Wisconsin, than Donald Trump did in New York.
So yes, I agree, there is desperation on the Trump side and the reason Donald Trump is desperate is because it is now abundantly clear, nobody’s getting to 1,237.
Asked if the Cruz-Kasich agreement is a “Hail Mary,” Cruz repeated this and continued:
It is abundantly clear that nobody is getting to 1,237.
We are headed to a contested convention. and at a contested convention, Donald Trump is in real trouble. Why? Because he cannot earn the support of a majority of the delegates elected by the people. Donald has had consistently a hard ceiling of about 40 percent that he can’t break. Donald has been a minority candidate, a fringe candidate. Now he benefitted early in the race by having a multitude of opponents where the opposition to Donald was diffuse, but what we have seen happening over the last month is the Republican Party uniting behind our campaign. Indeed of the 17 candidates who started this race, five have now endorsed our campaign: Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Carly Fiorina. We are seeing the full spectrum of the Republican Party uniting.
Cruz then spoke of the “Hoosier State. There is a common sense sensibility about this great state. You’ve had leaders like Gov. Mitch Daniels, like Gov. Mike Pence who roll up their sleeves and solve problems, who understand that when you cut taxes and lift regulations the result is small businesses grow and jobs expand. We need a President in the spirit of Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence.”
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has yet to endorse in the race. Pence met with both Cruz and Trump last week. He was scheduled to meet with Kasich as well, but that was reported before news broke of the Cruz-Kasich agreement.
Monday morning Trump Tweeted accusing Cruz and Kasich of collusion:
Lyin' Ted Cruz and 1 for 38 Kasich are unable to beat me on their own so they have to team up (collusion) in a two on one. Shows weakness!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2016
One of the final questions of Cruz to fly out of the press pool, “To voters who have watched you run as an outsider all these months who now see you making this deal with John Kasich, how do you justify that as not collusion?”
Listen, I have been from day one an outsider and the easiest, the proof is in the pudding…the voters can ask who has stood up and led the fight against the Washington cartel from day one. And I am the only one in this race that has taken on, not just Democrats, but leaders in my own party over and over and over again. When I ran for Senate I promised the people of Texas I would lead the fight against Obamacare. That’s what I did in the Senate, much to the annoyance of the Washington cartel and as President I’ll repeal every word of Obamacare. When I ran for Senate in Texas I promised the voters, I would lead the fight against amnesty. That’s what I did in the Senate, leading the fight against the Gang of 8 amnesty bill at the same time that Donald Trump was funding the Gang of 8, giving over $50,000 to the proponents of amnesty, I was leading the fight and we defeated amnesty in Congress. As President I will stop amnesty, we’ll secure the borders, we’ll end sanctuary cities and we will end welfare benefits for those here illegally.
Cruz accused the Trump campaign of being scared of Indiana and saying he would much rather stay in northeastern states.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana