Donald Trump’s suggestion that riots may break out at the Republican National Convention this summer in Cleveland if he is denied the GOP presidential nomination was met on Thursday with condemnation by the head of the state party in Ohio.
"Politically it’s a terrible message for him to be sending. It will work against him.” Matt Borges, an outspoken critic of Trump, told ABC News. “No one is going to come to Cleveland thinking they better vote for Trump or there will be riots.”
Borges insisted the convention is going to be an “orderly process, transparent process,” and said if Trump shows up without the majority of the delegates "that’s his fault.”
Borges said they have been working with state and local law enforcement and there is an extensive security plan in place as there would be at any convention.
“We’re ready,” Borges said, “so I think it will be a peaceful and orderly and fine.”
Just yesterday, however, Trump said he wasn’t so sure.
“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 someone else is at 500 or 400 cause we’re way ahead of everybody...I think you’d have riots,” Trump said on CNN Wednesday morning.
Trump is leading his two remaining rivals -– Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz –- in the delegate race, but hasn’t yet hit the magical number of 1,237 to secure the Republican nomination. If he doesn't hit that number, Trump faces a contested convention, where a portion of the pledged delegates are free to vote for whomever they want.
Kasich took his reactions to Twitter, calling Trump’s talk of riots “unacceptable language.”
I have faith the American people want civilized debate over violence. It's what's kept our nation the strongest in the world. (4/4) -John— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) March 17, 2016
Sean Spicer, the RNC’s communications director and chief strategist, said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday that he assumed Trump was “speaking figuratively.”
“I feel very good about how we are going to run our convention,” Spicer said.
But Tea Party activist and Trump supporter, Scottie Nell Hughes, argued that keeping the New York billionaire from the nomination could spark backlash.
“Riots aren’t necessarily a bad thing if it means it’s because it’s fighting the fact that our establishment Republican Party has gone corrupt and decided to ignore the voice of the people and ignore the process,” Hughes told CNN, Wednesday.
But she added a note of confidence that Trump’s supporters wouldn’t “resort to violence.”
“I know they would not do it,” Hughes said. “However, they would make sure their voices are heard, that they can't be ignored.”
ABC News’ Meridith McGraw contributed reporting.