CNN anchor Anderson Cooper repeatedly pressed Donald Trump on Tuesday about how GOP rival Ted Cruz had managed to crush him in Colorado.
“The bottom line is the rules are the rules. Didn’t you just get outplayed on the ground?” Cooper asked the Republican presidential frontrunner during a CNN town-hall event.
Trump responded by highlighting his overall status in the primary race.
“We’re really way up in votes in votes, in terms of the voters,” he said. “But the Colorado thing was very, very unfair,” he added.
Trump furiously complained since Cruz easily won Colorado in a process that concluded last weekend, resulting in a 34-delegate sweep for the Texas senator. Colorado’s primary system is somewhat unusual in that it emphasises congressional-district conventions instead of caucuses or a traditional primary election.
On Tuesday, Trump further bemoaned Cruz’s “shenanigans” in Louisiana, another state where the Cruz campaign outmaneuvered Trump’s team in some of the delegate hunting. Trump won a plurality of the vote in Louisiana, but some delegates became outbound as the race narrowed to fewer candidates.
“You call them ‘shenanigans.’ Those are the rules. And didn’t you know those rules?” Cooper asked.
“I know the rules very well. But I know that it’s stacked against me by the establishment. I fully understand it,” Trump insisted.
“You could have had a better organisation on the ground,” Cooper said.
“I don’t know if it would have mattered because it was totally set in stone. And that’s the way it was,” the mogul replied.
Cooper pointed out that Cruz had actually invested a lot of time and effort in Colorado “going out, reaching out to people who wanted to be delegates, to run the process. I mean, it was a whole electoral process to get delegates.”
But Trump wouldn’t budge and repeated his argument that the rules were simply stacked against him. He further said he would have won Colorado had the rules not been changed last year to the current system.
“You disagree with the process as it was in Colorado. But you had months to prepare,” Cooper said.
The CNN anchor continued:
Your critics say it says something about your leadership ability — for somebody who touts himself as somebody who’s an organizational genius, who’s created this amazing business organisation, that you couldn’t create an organizational on the ground that could beat Ted Cruz’s organisation.
Trump again responded by touting his overall status at the Republican frontrunner.
“Well, if my organisation’s not so good, how come I’ve won many more states than him?” he asked back.