US Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has denounced the GOP primary process as “rigged, disgusting, [and] dirty.”
Speaking at a rally in New York on Monday, the billionaire businessman said Republican rival Ted Cruz is stealing the election from him by exploiting a corrupt election system, after Cruz swept all of Colorado’s 34 delegates over the weekend during the GOP state convention.
Trump also railed against the media and blamed it for failing to point out injustices in the Republican primary contest.
“The media itself is so dishonest,” Trump said. “Honestly, I do wonder. I’m millions of votes ahead, which they don’t even mention, they don’t even talk about. They talk about delegates. And I’m hundreds of delegates ahead but the system is rigged, folks. It’s a rigged, disgusting dirty system. It’s a dirty system and only a nonpolitician would say it.”
Trump has won more states than Cruz and has built up a healthy lead in delegates, but has been outmaneuvered by Cruz in a series of recent state meetings to select national convention delegates.
“There was no voting. I didn’t go out there to make a speech or anything, there’s no voting,” Trump said on Fox News on Monday. “The people out there are going crazy, in the Denver area and Colorado itself, and they’re going absolutely crazy because they weren’t given a vote. This was given by politicians – it’s a crooked deal.”
Trump has expressed concern that the Republican Party might try to “steal” the nomination from him if he fails to win the 1,237 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination.
According to an Associated Press count, Trump has 743 bound delegates to 545 for Cruz.
Observers say that Trump may finish about 80 delegates short of the absolute majority, meaning that the Republican National Convention in July will start without a presumptive nominee.
In that case, campaigns will jockey for advantage and either change or uphold the rules that have governed the primary up until that point. There might be several ballots. Most delegates are pledged to their respective candidates for the first ballot. After that, they can vote for other candidates.