Donald Trump Warns About Riots If He Doesn't Get the Nomination

March 16th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

In an oddly threatening pitch to Republican voters, GOP front-runner Donald Trump warned of riots if he is even slightly short of the delegates needed to secure his party's nomination at the Republican National Convention in July.

Trump on Riots
In an interview with CNN early Wednesday, just hours after he secured wins in several important primary states, the divisive candidate said that "bad things would happen" if his supporters were disenfranchised by a delegate count that falls short of the 1,237 needed for the nomination.

"I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, 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," Trump said. "I think it would be — I think you’d have riots. I think you’d have riots. I’m representing a tremendous, many, many millions of people.”

"If you disenfranchise those people and you say, well I'm sorry but you're 100 votes short, even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would have problems like you've never seen before. I think bad things would happen, I really do. I believe that. I wouldn't lead it but I think bad things would happen," Trump added.

Some observers, including Sean Spicer, a chief RNC strategist and spokesperson, brushed the comments off as hyperbole.

"I think Republicans will have a very orderly process," Spicer told CNN. "We'll vote in the open. The delegates that are elected by the Republican voters will go to Cleveland."

Others, though, were wary of the candidate's warning, citing the violence and vitriol that often characterize his rallies and supporters.

Trump's comments on Wednesday come as a contested convention in July becomes more likely after Ohio Gov. John Kasich secured 66 delegates with a win in his home on Tuesday night — setting up a roadblock for Trump.

Along with the business mogul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, warned of the ramifications a contested convention would bring, saying if "would be an absolute disaster" if GOP party leaders backed a contest between candidates.

"I think people would quite rightly revolt. The way to beat Donald Trump is at the ballot box," Cruz told CNN on Wednesday.

Still, both dismissed Kasich's chance at winning the nomination.

"It is mathematically impossible for John Kasich to become the nominee. At this point, he had lost 20 states before Ohio," Cruz added.