(CNN) — Donald Trump’s campaign manager slammed the campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday for downplaying the importance of Indiana’s GOP primary after the Texas senator’s campaign for weeks built up the contest.
Corey Lewandowski predicted a Trump victory in the Hoosier State and said Tuesday’s primary should trigger party leaders — including Cruz — to unify behind Trump as the Republican nominee.
“The narrative that Sen. Cruz’s team are perpetuating is Indiana doesn’t matter anymore because they’re losing. What else are you going to say? Two weeks ago this was the make-or-break state for Ted Cruz,” Lewandowski told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.”
Cruz on Sunday called the Indiana primary “incredibly important” on Fox News, but pivoted to a contest further down the road: “California is the state that’s going to decide this whole thing.”
But Lewandowski — echoing his candidate’s comments that the nomination fight will be “over” if he wins Indiana — insisted Tuesday’s vote would be the inflection point of the campaign.
“The bottom line is Donald Trump is going to be the nominee and after tonight when the people of Indiana vote and they will vote for Donald Trump, he is not only the presumptive nominee, but he is going to be the Republican nominee going forward,” he said.
Trump last week proclaimed himself the party’s “presumptive nominee” after a sweeping victory in the five northeastern states that voted last Tuesday.
While Indiana’s delegates cannot put Trump over the 1,237 delegate threshold Trump needs to secure the party’s nomination, they would put him on his clearest path yet to doing so.
Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Trump’s final two rivals for the nomination, have no path to winning the nomination on the first ballot and are only vying for a contested convention.
Trump’s campaign manager also called on Cruz to support Trump should the New York billionaire cinch another victory in Indiana.
“He should unite behind Donald Trump so that we have one singular message which is bringing our message of making America great again to the American people so that we can defeat Hillary Clinton in November,” Lewandowski said.