Republican presidential candidate John Kasich on Tuesday defended his joint effort with fellow candidate Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown O'Rourke's mom discusses past Dem votes after labeled 'lifelong Republican' by son Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown MORE to deny Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE delegates in upcoming contests.


"You guys are too hung up on process," Kasich said during a phone interview on NBC's "Today" show.

The Ohio governor repeatedly attempted to explain how he's clearing a path for Cruz in Indiana by not campaigning there, while Cruz plans to stand down in Oregon and New Mexico.

The pair announced Sunday a joint effort in order to keep Trump below the 1,237 delegate threshold needed to lock up the nomination, prompting a contested Republican National Convention in July. But their alliance got off to a rocky start Monday when Kasich suggested during a campaign stop in Philadelphia that voters in Indiana should still vote for him.

"I'm not telling people anything in Indiana, because I'm not campaigning in Indiana," Kasich said Tuesday. "I'm not telling voters what to do. Voters are smart enough to figure out what they want to do."

"I have not told anybody to not vote for me, I'm just not there campaigning," Kasich added later, saying that when a candidate doesn't campaign somewhere, "your turnout goes down."

"You guys are the ones that are confused and upset; we're not," Kasich said after co-host Savannah Guthrie pressed him on mixed signals.

"I think you're having a hard time figuring this out," Kasich said.

"I am!" Guthrie responded.

Trump has blasted his rivals' attempts to deny him delegates, accusing them of "collusion."

"I'm not out to stop Donald Trump, I'm out to stop Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBudowsky: Closing message for Democrats Election Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach GOP mocks Clinton after minor vehicle collision outside Mendendez campaign event MORE," Kasich insisted Tuesday. "We know this: Donald Trump has zero chance of being able to beat Hillary Clinton."