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Cruz accuses Trump of threatening delegates

Scott Bauer
Associated Press

Rome, New York – — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz blasted rival Donald Trump in a radio interview Tuesday, accusing the Republican front-runner of being a bully, inciting violence and using dirty tricks to intimidate voters and delegates, as Trump continued to rail against a nominating system he says is crooked and rigged.

Using some of the harshest rhetoric of the campaign to date, Cruz said his billionaire rival is a bad businessman who has been surrounded by sycophants his entire career.

“Donald’s whole pitch is he’s a great businessman,” Cruz said in the wide-ranging interview on the Glenn Beck radio show, adding that given how he runs his campaign, “it appears he can’t run a lemonade stand.”

The comments came as both campaigns work tirelessly behind the scenes to secure delegates who will back them at the Republican Party convention this summer in Cleveland. So far, Trump has appeared badly outmaneuvered by a better-organized Cruz operation, prompting the billionaire businessman to rail against the Republican electoral system, claiming that the will of the voters is being denied.

“Our Republican system is absolutely rigged. It’s a phony deal,” said Trump at a rally in a packed airport hangar in Rome, New York, on Tuesday evening, where his speech was dominated by foot-stomping over the process.

He pointed to Colorado, where he said the delegate-selection system was set up by “crooked politicians” to make sure an outsider like him could never win.

“These are dirty tricksters,” he said, placing the blame on the Republican National Committee. “They should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of crap to happen,” he added, saying that both Republicans and Democrats have set up “phony rules and regulations” that makes it “impossible for a guy that wins to win.”

On Monday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus responded to Trump’s complaints, declaring that “the rules are the rules.”

Cruz, in the radio interview, unloaded on Trump over reports that his supporters were publishing the home addresses of delegates in Colorado and threatening to make public the hotel room numbers of delegates at the convention this summer.

“That is the tactic of union thugs,” Cruz said. “That is violence. It is oppressive. The idea that Donald is threatening delegates, we’re seeing that pattern over and over again.”

Cruz even compared Trump to the lead character from “The Godfather.”

“Donald needs to understand he’s not Michael Corleone,” Cruz said. “Donald needs to stop threatening the voters. He needs to stop threatening the delegates. He is not a mobster.”

Meanwhile, Trump released a new radio ad, that referenced Cruz’s shot at “New York values” during a GOP debate, telling voters in next week’s primaries that “other candidates do not like us.”