Trump Back on Attack Demanding Kasich Exit, Predicting Recession

  • Billionaire tells Ohio governor to stop `taking my votes'
  • Front-runner repeats jabs on some U.S. foreign-policy pillars

GOP Hopefuls Take Last Shots Before Wisconsin

Donald Trump was back on the offense after a difficult few days, demanding that competitor John Kasich drop out of the Republican presidential race and asserting that the U.S. is headed for a “very massive recession” and a share market downturn.

Campaigning in Milwaukee on Sunday, the billionaire said Kasich, the Ohio governor who’s a distant third in the Republican delegate count, should quit. “He’s taking my votes,” Trump said of Kasich, according to the Associated Press.

Trump trails Texas Senator Ted Cruz by about 7 percentage points in Wisconsin, which holds its nominating contest on Tuesday, according to an average of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. Kasich is running third.

‘Self-Declared Standard’

Kasich campaign spokesman Chris Schrimpf said that neither Trump nor Cruz will be able to secure a majority of delegates before the party’s convention in Cleveland in July.

“Since he thinks it’s such a good idea, we look forward to Trump dropping out before the convention,” Schrimpf said in an e-mailed statement. “Trump living up to his own self-declared standard is best for the Party since he will lose the White House by a historic margin to Hillary Clinton and also cause Republicans to lose control of the Senate.”

Trump has been under fire for comments that women having abortions should be subject to some form of punishment, and also pilloried by Republican rivals and President Barack Obama as being ignorant on key policy questions.

The Republican presidential front-runner sat for an extended interview with the Washington Post newspaper Thursday, which was published Saturday, saying unemployment is much higher than official figures suggest. Trump’s comments contrast with official data released on Friday that show the jobless rate was 5 percent in March, with more Americans entering the workforce and wages picking up.

Unemployment Rate

Donald Trump

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Unemployment is probably “into the 20s if you look at the real number,” Trump said. The 5 percent was a number devised “to make politicians -- and in particular presidents -- look good,” Trump said, according to the Post.

“I think we’re sitting on an economic bubble -- a financial bubble,” Trump told the newspaper.

Trump’s jabs on the economy and a public defense of his foreign policy views thrust him back on center stage ahead of Tuesday’s winner-take-most primary in Wisconsin.

Without naming Trump, Obama said on Friday that some of the Republican’s recent remarks on foreign policy demonstrate a lack of knowledge about the subject “or the world generally.”

Nuclear Arsenals

At an event Saturday in Racine, Wisconsin, Trump restated his opposition to the current North Atlantic Treaty Organization structure and defended a suggestion that Japan and South Korea should assemble their own nuclear arsenals.

Trump said he was talking about making sure that Japan and other countries, including NATO members, pay their fair share for defense -- and that eventually, they’ll probably want the weapons anyway.

“I didn’t say anything about letting Japan nuke,” Trump said. “But I did say, perhaps if we can’t do the right deal, we’ll have to let them take care of themselves.”

Obama told reporters in Washington that the tone of the U.S. presidential campaign is important for how the nation is viewed abroad. NATO has been a pillar of U.S. foreign policy for decades, along with a commitment to curbing the spread of nuclear arms.

Carnival-Like Atmosphere

“People pay attention to American elections. What we do is really important to the rest of the world,” Obama said. Even nations where elections sometimes take on a carnival-like atmosphere “want sobriety and clarity when it comes to U.S. elections.”

A Cruz win in Wisconsin could boost efforts by opponents trying to stop Trump from amassing the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination before the party’s convention in Cleveland in July.

Forces seeking to derail Trump are hoping Tuesday’s vote will build momentum for an effort to force a contested convention. Kasich on Sunday told ABC News that an open convention would be “so much fun” and predicted he’d come out on top under that scenario.

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