Republican presidential candidate John Kasich on Tuesday defended his joint effort with fellow candidate Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO’Rourke rockets to second place on CNN analysts' 2020 Dem rankings, Harris remains first Senators prepare for possibility of Christmas in Washington during a shutdown Biden to discuss 2020 bid with family over holidays: report MORE to deny Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpProsecutors investigating Trump inaugural fund, pro-Trump super PAC for possible illegal foreign donations: NY Times George Conway: Why take Trump's word over prosecutors' if he 'lies about virtually everything' Federal judge says lawsuit over Trump travel ban waivers will proceed 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 ClintonSanders, Warren meet ahead of potential 2020 bids Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber Comey’s remarks about Trump dossier are not credible, says former FBI official MORE," Kasich insisted Tuesday. "We know this: Donald Trump has zero chance of being able to beat Hillary Clinton."