The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination is calling on his rivals to drop out of the race and begin the process of “unifying” the party.
In several tweets on Thursday, Donald Trump insisted that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have “no path to victory” and should step aside.
“Senator Ted Cruz has been MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED from race,” Trump wrote in one tweet Thursday. “He said Kasich should get out for same reason. I think both should get out!”
It’s now mathematically impossible for Cruz to clinch the Republican nomination through pledged delegates won in state contests. Cruz won less than 15% of the vote and no delegates in the Republican primary in New York on Tuesday, while Trump did better than most political observers expected.
Kasich is also still in the race, but he’s even further behind in the delegate count than Cruz. The only hope either have is to force a contested Republican National Convention by preventing Trump from accumulating enough delegates heading into the event.
Trump tweeted Thursday night: “Both Ted Cruz and John Kasich have no path to victory. They should both drop out of the race so that the Republican Party can unify!”
He continued in a subsequent tweet, dropping the formal “Sen. Cruz” for his favoured moniker, “Lyin’ Ted”: “Cruz said Kasich should leave because he couldn’t get to 1237. Now he can’t get to 1237. Drop out LYIN’ Ted.”
A Republican candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the party’s nomination outright. If Cruz and Kasich remain in the race, it’s possible for them to prevent Trump from reaching that number if they continue to win enough votes in state contests to take delegates away from him.
If Trump falls short of that number in the delegates he wins through state contests, it could force a contested convention in which many delegates who would be bound to vote for Trump on the first ballot could choose another candidate on subsequent ballots.
Trump’s team has been making much of the same argument of unity this week as he works to mature his campaign apparatus. At the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting in Hollywood, Florida, told Republican leaders in a closed-door meeting Thursday that Trump has been “projecting an image” and that he is “evolving” as a candidate.
“You’ll start to see more depth of the person, the real person. You’ll see a real different guy,” said Paul Manafort, Trump’s newly hired senior aide, according to The Associated Press.