Republican presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz and John Kasich have put aside their rivalry to boost their chances of stopping populist maverick Donald Trump from securing the party's presidential nomination.
Kasich has agreed not to campaign in Indiana, and Cruz will not campaign in Oregon and New Mexico, the Cruz campaign said. The three state are scheduled to hold primaries in the next two months.
This leaves each to focus their remaining campaign against Trump with a boost of resources re-allocated from the cancelled campaigns in the other states.
Cruz said Monday the move "makes sense."
"That is a decision and allocation of resources that makes a lot of sense and is based on beating Hillary Clinton in November," Cruz told reporters while campaigning in Indiana.
Kasich told reporters on Monday while campaigning in Philadelphia that he believed the move was fair and the best use of limited campaign resources.
"We're going to go to the convention, it's going to be an open convention and the delegates are going to pick the best person to win in the fall," Kasich said.
In announcing the move late Sunday, the Cruz campaign said: "Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans. Having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation."
Donald Trump ripped the deal during a campaign rally in Rhode Island, calling it "pathetic."
"It takes two guys, long time politicians, to try to get together and try to beat Trump and yet they're way behind," he said. "I've only been doing this for 10 months."
Trump had earlier taken to Twitter, his preferred medium, to call the alliance an act of "DESPERATION!"
"Lyin' Ted and Kasich are mathematically dead and totally desperate. Their donors & special interest groups are not happy with them. Sad!" he tweeted.
At his rally, Trump, who is expected to try in coming weeks to tone down his brash style in an effort to appeal more presidential, suggested he might quit tweeting if elected, calling it "not presidential."
Both Kasich and Cruz are out of reach of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright at the Republican National Convention in June. Trump also remains short of that figure but hopes to clinch the nomination by securing delegates in the remaining primary contests.
The next voting takes place Tuesday in five north-eastern states: Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The Indiana primary is May 3.
By joining forces, Cruz and Kasich hope to stop Donald Trump from achieving the 1,237 delegate threshold. If successful, it would lead to a brokered convention in which the delegates awarded through the primary process become free to chose an alternate candidate.
If Trump does not win enough delegates to secure the nomination during the first round of voting by delegates at the convention in July, delegates would be unbounded from specific candidates and free to make a fresh choice of candidate.
Cruz claimed Monday that it was clear that no candidate would have enough delegates before the convention.
Trump currently has 845 delegates to 559 for Cruz and 148 for Kasich, according to a tally by the New York Times.
Kasich dismissed charges by Trump and his supporters that choosing a nominee other than the candidate with the most delegates would be unfair.
"All you've got to do is get the right number of delegates and you win," he said. "If you don't get the right number you don't win."