Hollywood, Fla. — Ted Cruz and John Kasich are getting on each other’s nerves.
The two presidential hopefuls spent the day here at the Diplomat Resort, to pitch their candidacies to the RNC members. But in between their large meetings and small group discussions with RNC members — all of whom will be delegates to the national conventions — the two candidates took the time to attack the other.
“John Kasich has no path whatsoever to the nomination,” Cruz told reporters here at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“Maybe he should look at the New York results,” Kasich shot back several hours later at his own press conference. Kasich finished in second place in New York ahead of Cruz, taking five of the states 95 delegates. The other 90 went to Donald Trump.
The back-and-forth is increasing as the stakes become higher. After the New York results, it became mathematically impossible for Cruz to win the 1,237 delegates he would need to clinch the nomination before the convention. And it became all the more possible that Trump might be able to do so, in spite of many Republicans’ efforts to stop him. If Kasich and Cruz split the anti-Trump vote and hand Trump a victory in some of the remaining big delegate states, they could give him the 1,237 delegates he needs.
Cruz’s campaign manager Jeff Roe, speaking to reporters earlier, talked of the campaign as a two-person race, ignoring Kasich’s continued presence. Asked what he thought about Kasich’s staying in the race, Roe’s first response was, ”Who?”
“His plan apparently rests on losing 49 states, going to the convention, and having all the delegates say, ‘The guy who lost every state in the union except his home state, he should be our nominee.’” Cruz said. “That, quite simply, is not going to happen. What John Kasich is doing is he’s helping Donald Trump.” Kasich was perhaps “auditioning” to be Trump’s vice president, Cruz added.
Kasich, in return, told Cruz to eat his own words: “There is a sound bite of the Senator talking about the fact that when somebody doesn’t have a legitimate path to the nomination, they should get out. He does not now have a legitimate path to the nomination. So maybe he ought to go back and listen to his own words.”
“I’m not getting out because of that,” Kasich said, saying winning the nomination at the convention — which he has long acknowledged is his only path to victory, was a perfectly legitimate way of doing it. “The convention is part of the process of picking the president of the United States.”
Cruz had a less charitable view of Kasich’s strategy: “John Kasich is an honorable and decent man whose only role in this election is spoiler.”
Later, Kasich shot back: “I don’t have anything against Senator Cruz. I’m not interested in his opinion of how I should run my campaign. It means nothing to me.”