United States Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich have joined forces to block front runner Donald Trump from getting the party’s nomination.
The pair say it’s an effort to use resources in a way to also stop Hilary Clinton from winning.
But Mr Trump has lashed out, accusing his rivals of political collusion.
Republican Donald Trump’s rivals, John Kasich and Ted Cruz, have formed a new alliance.
The pair will split upcoming contests to try stop their party’s frontrunner, Mr Trump, from clinching the GOP presidential nomination.
Mr Trump says he’s fine with that.
“Oh, did you see the news today? Did you see where they band together? Where they collude? It’s collusion. You know if you collude in business, if you collude in business or if you collude in the stock market, they put you in jail. But in politics, because it’s a rigged system, because it’s a corrupt enterprise, in politics you’re allowed to collude. So they colluded and actually I was happy, because it shows how weak they are. It shows how pathetic they are.”
Ohio Governor Kasich denies the arrangement is collusion.
“I don’t respond to Donald Trump, I mean what are you kidding me? (Reporter; “Is this collusion?”) Is it collu – collusion – what does that even mean? I dont even know. Does he know what that means? (Reporter: “The two of you are teaming up to compete against Donald Trump”) No the two of us are competing for to win the nomination and to make sure that we can steward our resources so we can stop Hillary Clinton. No I’m not desperate, are you?”
Texas Senator Cruz and Mr Kasich are focusing their resources in three upcoming state primary contests.
But US political analyst Terry Madonna says it’s a flawed strategy.
“It’s obvious that you take Indiana for example, that Cruz is doing better there. Kasich doesn’t have a chance to win it and so you move west to a couple of states where Kasich has a better chance. I understand the tactic behind it but I just think it feeds the Trump narrative that this is just the establishment, the party leaders, the people who can’t possibly be nominated on the first ballot, ‘They’re just trying to stop me (Trump)’. I don’t know how that doesn’t help him, to be honest with you.”
The move isn’t sitting well with all Republican supporters.
“Well, I’m sort of torn because I definitely do not like Trump or Cruz but I also don’t like the idea of people getting together to take away votes from what the people want, so.”
Senator Cruz says it makes sense for both campaigns to step aside in some states and not split party votes.
He says he’ll leave Oregon and New Mexico to Mr Kasich.
“It is big news today, that John Kasich has decided to pull out of Indiana to give us a head-to-head contest with Trump.”
He also says he didn’t expect Mr Trump’s response to be anything less.
“I don’t doubt Donald Trump is going to scream and yell and curse and insult and probably cry and whine some as well. But that has been Donald’s pattern.”
Mr Kasich has defended the deal after announcing he would give Mr Cruz a clear path in Indiana, saying he’s not telling anyone how to vote.
“Look, this is a matter of resources. We’re running a national campaign and we want to apply our resources where we think they can be used most effectively and it’s all designed to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president.”
Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton says Mr Trump has lost touch with people.
“Don’t just fly that big jet in and land it and go make a big speech and insult everybody you can think of and then go back, get on that big jet and go back to your country club house in Florida or your penthouse in New York. I somehow don’t think that puts you in touch with what’s going on.”