(CN) – Donald Trump on Monday blasted his remaining GOP rivals for joining forces over the weekend in a bid to deny him the necessary delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination.
In simultaneous announcements on Sunday, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced they’d entered into a unheard of strategic compact. Under the terms of their deal, the Kasich campaign will stand aside and give Cruz a “clear path in Indiana,” where voters will go to the pools on May 3.
In return, the Cruz campaign said it would “clear the path” for Kasich in Oregon, which holds its Republican primary on May 17, and in New Mexico, which votes on the last “Super Tuesday” of the primary season, on June 7.
John Weaver, Kasich’s chief strategist, said in a written statement that the campaign’s goal “is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the party and wining in November will emerge as the nominee.”
In a separate statement, Jeff Roe of the Cruz campaign said, “having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans.
“Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation,” Roe said.
The extraordinary deal came as both campaigns largely gave up competing in the five northeastern states that will hold primaries on Tuesday. With Trump expected to win most of Tuesday’s race handily, both Cruz and Kasich had decamped for Indiana, where the Ohio governor last week announced the opening of two offices and the appointment of a campaign leadership team.
On Sunday afternoon, the Kasich campaign cancelled a town hall and his election night watch parties in Indianapolis.
At the same time, both Cru and Kasich encouraged their allied superPACs to honor their commitment.
On Monday, Trump issued a written statement in which he said “it is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for 10 months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination.”
Then the excoriation began:
“Sen. Cruz has done very poorly and after his New York performance, which was a total disaster, he is in free fall and as everyone has seen, he does not react well under pressure,” Trump said. “Also, approximately 80 percent of the Republican Party is against him.”
As for Kasich, Trump pointed out the governor has only won one out of the 41 states that have held primaries and caucuses to date.
“He is not even doing as well as other candidates who could have stubbornly stayed in the race like him but chose not to do so,” Trump said. “Marco Rubio, as an example, has more delegates than Kasich and yet suspended his campaign one month ago. Others, likewise, have done much better than Kasich, who would get slaughtered by Hillary Clinton once the negative ads against him begin.”
Trump noted that “collusion is often illegal in many other industries … yet these two Washington insiders have had to revert to collusion in order to stay alive.”
Both Cruz and Kasich have been mathematically eliminated from securing the nomination themselves on the first ballot.
“They are … dead,” Trump continued. “This act only shows, as puppets of donors and special interests, how truly weak they and their campaigns are.”
As far as Trump is concerned, the deal is just one more indication 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,” Trump said.
Donald Trump addresses supporters at a campaign event at Crosby High School in Waterbury, Conn. on Saturday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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