NEW YORK, April 13 (UPI) — Republcian presidential candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz opened a CNN town hall event attacking his chief opponent, Donald Trump, as acting like a “union boss thug” for “threatening” GOP delegates.
The remarks come as Trump has stepped up his criticism of the party’s electoral process as Cruz has outmaneuvered Trump in several recent states where the party decided who will comprise their delegations to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer.
Trump has called the process “rigged” and complained loudly about states where Cruz is working to install delegates who would be bound to vote for Trump on a first ballot, but who would flock to him in the event that ballot deadlocks.
Cruz noted dryly, “he’s unhappy about that.”
“It is bizarre,” Cruz said. “Donald and his team, it’s almost like they are subjects in a clinical course in psychology. There are all sorts of different behaviors they display but one of them is projection. The conduct they do, they regularly accuse everyone else of doing. Roger Stone, his chief political adviser, threatened to out the hotel rooms of delegates [at the convention] who dared cross Trump. They’re acting like union boss thugs.
“Violence doesn’t belong in democracy. We shouldn’t be intimidating delegates.”
Cruz also did not rule out the possibility of striking a deal with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who presently stands third in the delegate count despite having ended his campaign last month. Under a scenario envisioned by the town hall moderator, Anderson Cooper of CNN, with a deadlocked convention, Cruz could offer to make Rubio his running mate in exchange for wooing his delegates to put him over the top for the nomination. Asked if that was possible, Cruz did not answer directly, but instead heaped praise on his former rival.
“I think very, very highly of Marco,” Cruz said. “He is an amazing communicator. He ran a campaign that inspired millions across this country. It inspired me. I think the world of Marco.”