Fresh off a big night in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump says that if he is leading in delegates going into the GOP convention but does not emerge as the nominee, there will be chaos in Cleveland.
“I think you’d have riots,” Trump said on CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday.
Trump’s wins in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina on Tuesday put him at least halfway to the 1,237 delegates he needs to claim the nomination. But Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s win in his home state denied the real estate mogul 66 delegates in the winner-take-all primary, increasing the likelihood of a contested GOP convention this summer.
“I think we’ll win before getting to the convention,” Trump said. “But I can tell you, if we didn’t and if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re 100 short and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically.”
“I’m representing a tremendous, many, many millions of people, in many cases, first time voters,” he added. “If you disenfranchise those people, and you say, ‘I’m sorry, you’re 100 votes short’ … I think you’d have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen.”
If no one reaches the 1,237 delegate threshold, each candidate — including Trump, Kasich, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz or even someone else drafted at the convention — would have a chance to make their case in Cleveland.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at an election night event at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)
“If we don’t have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I’m for none of the above,” former House Speaker John Boehner said at a conference in Boca Raton, Fla., on Wednesday. “They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I’m for none of the above. I’m for Paul Ryan to be our nominee.”
Ryan, who succeeded Boehner as House speaker, was asked about the possibility of being drafted as the nominee.
“You know, it’s funny, but I actually think you should run for president if you’re gonna be president,” Ryan said on CNBC Wednesday. “I’m not running for president. I made that decision, consciously, not to. I don’t see that happening. I’m not thinking about it. I’m happy where I am, so no.”
Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally in Bloomington, Ill., in March. (Photo: Jim Young/Reuters)
“I haven’t given any thought to this stuff,” Ryan, the 2012 vice presidential nominee, added. “People say, ‘What about the contested convention?’ I say, ‘Well, there are a lotta people running for president, we’ll see. Who knows.’”
Meanwhile, Trump talked about a scenario that he hasn’t spoken much about since launching his bid for the White House: losing.
“I intend to win, I hope I win,” Trump said. “If I do, we’re going to make America great again. My message is very simple. We are going to make America great again. And if I don’t make it, then I will go off into the wild blue yonder and I will enjoy the rest of my life and it will be a lot easier.”
Trump also responded to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s attacks against him in her victory speech.
“Our commander in chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it,” Clinton said. “Engage our allies, not alienate them. Defeat our adversaries, not embolden them. When we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, when he embraces torture, that doesn’t make him strong, it makes him wrong.”
“I think she’s an embarrassment to our country,” Trump said. “She’s under federal investigation. She doesn’t have the strength or the stamina to be president, frankly, as far as I’m concerned. She doesn’t have the strength, she doesn’t have the stamina, I think she would — she talks about defeat our enemies. Well, where has she been for the last year? We can’t even beat ISIS. She’s not defeating our enemies. She wouldn’t know how to defeat the enemy. It’s ridiculous.”