Ohio Gov. John Kasich Sunday joined Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in hedging on whether he would support Republican front-runner Donald Trump if the real estate mogul wins the Republican presidential nomination.
“Donald Trump will not be the nominee,” Cruz said when questioned by a reporter last week. “I don’t make a habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and attacks my family,” Cruz said Saturday in reference to a retweet by Trump comparing pictures of Trump’s wife Melania to Cruz’s wife Heidi. Cruz also accused Trump of planting a story in the National Enquirer that accused Cruz of engaging in a series of extramarital affairs.
— Tara Dorsey Burton (@tarab976) March 25, 2016
Trump on ABC’s “This Week” denied having a hand in the Enquirer story, which Cruz labeled “a tabloid smear from Donald Trump and his henchmen.”
“I had nothing to do with it,” Trump said. “The campaign had nothing to do with it. … I didn’t even know about the story. Somebody sent it to me last night.” Trump said he had no idea whether the story had any merit, but the Enquirer has “a very good record of being right. I hope it’s not right.”
Cruz, on “Fox News Sunday,” called the Enqirer story “garbage” and alleged that Trump is good friends with the publisher of the tabloid.
Trump blamed the degeneration of the campaign on Cruz.
“The press likes to make me the bad guy … [but] he started it,” Trump said.
— Celebrity Health Mag (@CelebHealthFit) March 23, 2016
Kasich, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” decried the turn the campaign has taken.
“If this becomes the order of the day, what kind of people are we going to have in the future run for public office?” Kasich asked. “There’s got to be some decency.”
Kasich, who said he has no intention of dropping out of the race, said he would examine his position on Trump “every day.”
Kasich has won only his home state in primary matchups but noted a series of polls last week had him as the only GOP hopeful consistently ahead of Hillary Clinton, who currently is ahead in the Democratic race.
“I’m the only candidate who can win in the fall,” Kasich said, and it’s “absurd” to suggest he drop out.
Don't believe the @FoxNews Polls, they are just another phony hit job on me. I will beat Hillary Clinton easily in the General Election.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2016
Kasich, however, is trailing badly in the delegate count. He has won just 143 delegates, compared to 739 for Trump and 465 for Cruz. A candidate needs 1,237 to secure the nomination. There are 944 delegates still available, most of them in states that arguably are less conservative than those where most of the contests already have been held.