What the Ted Cruz campaign says in public and what it says in private are two very different things, according to a series of tweets from a top strategist for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
The Friday tweets from strategist John Weaver follows tensions between the Ohio governor and the Texas senator over whether Cruz is telling New York Republicans Kasich won’t be on the ballot when the Empire State’s crucial April 19 Republican presidential primary rolls around.
Cruz has publicly said Kasich should withdraw from the race because he cannot win the nomination outright. “A vote for John Kasich is a vote for Donald Trump,” Cruz said Saturday.
But in a series of five tweets Friday, Weaver said the private conversations are all about finding ways the two campaigns can deny Trump the delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot.
“Cruz camp is disingenuous about division of targeting re: Trump. On multiple levels, Cruz camp has reached out to us (and vice versa) to ensure Trump is denied 1,237,” Weaver tweeted.
“They know what we know: only path to nomination for Cruz or us is through open convention. Only action to date has been unilateral by us re: AZ (which they knew in advance). Even Mitt has urged Cruz to work with us! To no avail,” he wrote.
“As usual, they want it both ways, appearance of attempt to work together/victim, but no action. To question@JohnKasich motivation is underhanded, and opposite of what they say in private. Facts are JK best positioned in most states moving forward & in general election,” Weaver wrote.
Tag-teaming Trump may be the only way to stop him, according to an analysis posted by David Wasserman on FiveThirtyEight.
“(I)f they want to thwart Trump, their only hope may be to coordinate a last-ditch, two-front assault on the front-runner,” he wrote. “If they don’t start divvying up turf, Trump is much more likely to prevail on the first ballot in Cleveland.”
But cooperation seemed unlikely amid tensions over reports Cruz told top New York Republicans Kasich would not be on the New York ballot.
“Look, we all saw what Ted Cruz’s people did to Dr. Carson in Iowa,” said Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols. “And we also saw what they tried to say about us in Illinois suggesting we wouldn’t be on the Illinois ballot when we were in fact on the Illinois ballot. And now we’re seeing him and his people say that we’re not going to be on the ballot in New York when I am currently looking at a picture of the ballot in New York with John Kasich’s name on it.”
“This is a disturbing pattern, we think this race should be above that and our campaign will never drop to this level of untruthfulness,” he said.
The Cruz camp reported things differently, and said the issue was whether Kasich was in the race, not on the ballot.
“Ted said Gov. Kasich may drop out before New York, after losing badly in Arizona, Utah and Wisconsin,” said Cruz campaign national spokeswoman Alice Stewart.