Trump: Republican rivals Cruz, Kasich 'colluding' to block him

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Trump slams Cruz and Kasich's 'horrible act of desperation'

WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) - Donald Trump blasted rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich on Monday for reaching a deal to divide up three state primary contests in an attempt to block the front-runner from winning the Republican Party's presidential nomination.

The real estate mogul and reality television personality reacted to the unusual agreement by saying it was "sad" that the two fellow Republicans had to team up to in order to try to defeat him.

SEE ALSO: Republicans Cruz, Kasich reach 'stop-Trump' deal

"Collusion is often illegal in many other industries and yet these two Washington insiders have had to revert to collusion in order to stay alive," Trump said in a statement. "They are mathematically dead and this act only shows, as puppets of donors and special interests, how truly weak they and their campaigns are."

On Sunday, the Cruz and Kasich campaigns announced a deal to concentrate their efforts and resources in state contests where each has a better shot. Cruz will focus on Indiana's May 3 primary without competition from Kasich, while Cruz will stand aside in favor of Kasich in Oregon's May 17 primary and New Mexico's June 7 contest.

RELATED: See photos from Trump's Connecticut rally

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Trump: Republican rivals Cruz, Kasich 'colluding' to block him
BRIDGEPORT, CT - APRIL 23: A protester is led out of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally in Bridgeport on April 23, 2016 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Under a heavy police presence, the afternoon event was disrupted on a number of occasions by protesters. Despite his advisers pledging that Trump will begin using a more presidential tone in his appearances, in Bridgeport Trump did not use a teleprompter and stuck to his usual style. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
BRIDGEPORT, CT - APRIL 23: A protester is led out of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally in Bridgeport on April 23, 2016 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Under a heavy police presence, the afternoon event was disrupted on a number of occasions by protesters. Despite his advisers pledging that Trump will begin using a more presidential tone in his appearances, in Bridgeport Trump did not use a teleprompter and stuck to his usual style. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
BRIDGEPORT, CT - APRIL 23: A protester is led out of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally in Bridgeport on April 23, 2016 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Under a heavy police presence, the afternoon event was disrupted on a number of occasions by protesters. Despite his advisers pledging that Trump will begin using a more presidential tone in his appearances, in Bridgeport Trump did not use a teleprompter and stuck to his usual style. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
BRIDGEPORT, CT - APRIL 23: Protesters are led out of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally in Bridgeport on April 23, 2016 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Under a heavy police presence, the afternoon event was disrupted on a number of occasions by protesters. Despite his advisers pledging that Trump will begin using a more presidential tone in his appearances, in Bridgeport Trump did not use a teleprompter and stuck to his usual style. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A group of Donald Trump rally attendees walk past Anti-Trump protesters following a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Attendees exit following a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
A Donald Trump supporter yells at ant-Trump protesters following a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
People wait to enter before a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
A child uses his cellular device before a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
A Donald Trump supporter takes signs before a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
A vendor moves a trolley of Donald Trump paraphernalia before a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
A Donald Trump rally attendee walk past Anti-Trump protesters following a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut on April 23, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Connecticut on April 23, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
BRIDGEPORT, CT - APRIL 23: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Bridgeport on April 23, 2016 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Under a heavy police presence, the afternoon event was disrupted on a number of occasions by protesters. Despite his advisers pledging that Trump will begin using a more presidential tone in his appearances, in Bridgeport Trump did not use a teleprompter and stuck to his usual style. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, and Kasich, Ohio's governor, hope their efforts will weaken Trump in those states and keep him from securing enough delegates to claim the Republican nomination before the party convention beginning July 18.

The deal comes as a handful of mid-Atlantic states prepare for primary elections on Tuesday.

Trump faces a tough path to earn the 1,237 delegates needed to lock up the nomination before the convention.

While candidates can win a state contest, they often must still win over delegates who often are allocated at separate events. Republicans will pick their delegates in at least four states this weekend, including Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona and Virginia.

Trump has frequently complained that the process for choosing a nominee for the Nov. 8 presidential election is "rigged" against him, a charge he repeated on Monday. Party officials have said the rules have long been known.

If no candidate has enough support on the first vote at the national convention, many delegates can switch sides on subsequent ballots, opening up a potential free-for-all.

While some groups opposing Trump welcomed the Cruz-Kasich pact, which some Republicans have urged for weeks, other political strategists questioned whether the deal comes too late.

Cruz is scheduled to hold his first rally since the announcement in Borden, Indiana, on Monday morning, and a second later in the day in Franklin. Kasich has two events scheduled in Oregon on Thursday.

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson, Steve Holland, Megan Cassella and Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott)

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