The Latest: Trump links Cruz to GOP ‘establishment’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on campaign 2016 as the candidates converge on Wisconsin ahead of its April 5 primary (all times Eastern Daylight Time):

7:05 p.m.

Donald Trump is playing down the chances that Ted Cruz could win the Republican presidential nomination in a delegate fight at this summer’s convention, but says that if the senator does emerge victorious “it’s because he’s the establishment.”

Trump says he’s hoping to deliver a knockout blow to Cruz during next week’s Wisconsin primary. He is mocking the senator for embellishing his record and warning that if he does capture the nomination, the Democrats will say Cruz is ineligible to be president because he was born in Canada.

The attack on Cruz capped off an hourlong rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, Trump’s first public event in the state.

The celebrity businessman also mocked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s love of motorcycles, praised Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and pledged to help a woman in the audience who said she was a former beauty queen now facing a life-threatening illness.


7 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich visited a suburban Milwaukee custard shop, where he shook hands, posed for photos and chatted with supporters — but didn’t eat.

“How’s that for discipline?” the Ohio governor said at the end of the 30-minute campaign stop.

Several of his staffers had dessert while the candidate talked with supporters individually, giving golf advice and asking people about their families and businesses.

He joked that he stayed away from the custard because “I have a beautiful, smart wife, and I’ve gotta stay fit.”


6:25 p.m.

Donald Trump is suggesting that next week’s Wisconsin primary could be the last stand for his Republican rivals.

Trump, in a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin on Tuesday, said that “if we win Wisconsin, it’s pretty much over.”

Trump has a significant lead in delegates over Ted Cruz and John Kasich but is not yet on pace to clinch the nomination before the Republican convention in Cleveland this summer.

The celebrity businessman noted that the next primary after Wisconsin is his home state of New York, where he said he expects to win handily. The Wisconsin primary, which is expected to be close, is set for April 5.

Two protesters left Trump’s rally in its first 20 minutes but neither made much of a disturbance.


6:10 p.m.

Donald Trump is making his first campaign appearance in Wisconsin ahead of the state’s key Republican primary.

Trump held a rally Tuesday in Janesville, Wisconsin — the hometown of House Speaker Paul Ryan. He began his remarks with sharp criticism of the state’s governor, Scott Walker, who endorsed Trump’s rival, Ted Cruz, earlier in the day.

Trump said that the governor “certainly can’t endorse me after what I did to him in the race.”

Walker ended his own presidential campaign last year.

Trump belittled Walker’s handling of Wisconsin’s economy — and the governor’s habit of riding motorcycles.

“The motorcycle guys like Trump,” the candidate exclaimed, who then admitted he was somewhat surprised by that since he’s not “a big motorcycle guy.”

The state’s primary is April 5.


5:15 p.m.

Ted Cruz is heading to Las Vegas next week for a conference at Republican billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson’s casino complex.

The Republican Jewish Coalition, largely funded by Adelson, also has invited Donald Trump and John Kasich, the other two GOP presidential candidates, and is awaiting their replies.

Cruz joins former president George W. Bush and 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney in speaking at RJC’s spring conference, which takes place at Adelson’s Venetian Resort and Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

Adelson and his family spent more than $90 million in the 2012 race, but have not made large contributions so far this time. Speaking recently at an event in honor of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Adelson expressed mild support for Trump if he secures the nomination.

“Trump is a businessman. I am a businessman. He employs a lot of people. I employed 50,000 people. Why not?” Adelson pondered, according to a video of the event obtained by an Israeli political writer.


3:50 p.m.

Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine isn’t saying whether she would support Donald Trump if he ends up being the GOP’s presidential nominee.

Interviewed on Maine radio station WGAN on Tuesday, Collins said she’s always backed the Republican nominee, “but I’m going to wait and see.”

Collins, who was a supporter of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said she hasn’t found someone else to back — and won’t.

“I’m going to let the process play out, I’m not going to make another endorsement,” she said.


3:00 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is criticizing voter identification laws at a town hall in Wisconsin, a week before the state’s presidential primary in which the new requirement will apply.

Almost 4,000 Sanders supporters packed the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, Wisconsin for the event, far exceeding the 2,100-capacity theater.

The Vermont senator said governors like Republican Gov. Scott Walker have been making it harder for people to participate in the political process. Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which went into effect this year, is one of the most restrictive in the country. Supporters say it helps guard against election fraud.

If elected president, Sanders said, he will take on Walker and others to make it easier for people to participate in the political process, not harder.


2:55 p.m.

Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich says he’s not “losing any sleep” over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s endorsement of his rival, Ted Cruz, questioning whether endorsements really have an impact.

Speaking to journalists in Waukesha, Wisconsin Tuesday, Kasich said endorsements have an impact when “somebody puts their shoulder to the wheel and really pushes like crazy to make a difference.”

He says he’s endorsed “a bunch of people who lost.”


2:20 p.m.

Several dozen protesters have gathered in front of a Holiday Inn complex in Janesville, Wisconsin where Donald Trump will be holding a town hall event later Tuesday afternoon.

Chad and Josie Smith of nearby Beloit were among those gathered. They say they’ve come to deliver a message that not everyone in the state supports the Republican front-runner’s message.

“We want to stand up against Trump and let people know that we don’t stand for what he believes in,” says Josie, a local property manager for senior housing.

Her husband, who works in a warehouse, says he worries that Trump will divide the country drastically if he’s elected.

He says, “it scares me if he becomes the commander-in-chief.”

Both support Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.


2:00 p.m.

Presidential hopeful John Kasich says it’s unrealistic to propose deportation of those living in the U.S. illegally.

Kasich told about 200 supporters at a town hall meeting at a welding plant in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday that he doesn’t want to deport such immigrants unless they’ve committed crimes. He said about 11.5 million people are in the country illegally and it’s a fantasy to think authorities can go to their homes and deport them.

He said he would rather have them pay a fine and set them on a path toward legalization.


12:20 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is vowing to curb gun violence at a Milwaukee forum ahead of next week’s Democratic primary in Wisconsin.

Clinton’s campaign forum grew emotional as family members spoke of losing children to gun violence. The Democratic presidential candidate says she will “keep talking about this throughout this campaign” and will “keep talking about it and acting on it” if she wins the White House.

Clinton is noting again that Democratic rival Bernie Sanders voted against longer waiting periods for gun purchases and supported a 2005 federal law that shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products. Sanders backs a bill to repeal the law.

The mother of Sandra Bland, a black woman who was found dead in a Texas county jail, spoke of her connection to the former secretary of state. Geneva Reed-Veal told the audience that Clinton sent her a Christmas card that read, “I know this is the first holiday without your baby.”


11:00 a.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says the foreign policy of Republican front-runner Donald Trump is “gibberish” and “ill-conceived” and as president he would be “worse than Obama.”

The South Carolina Republican is leading a congressional delegation to Israel. Graham, who dropped his own bid for the White House last year, told The Associated Press Tuesday that Trump does not understand the stakes of the Middle East. He took particular aim at Trump’s assertion that he would take a more neutral stand regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Graham says “this is not a real estate deal. This is the survival of the one and only Jewish state.”

Graham says he is concerned a Hillary Clinton presidency would amount to a third term for Barack Obama, but she was at least a “known quantity.”


10:50 a.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s “heroic” battle with unions inspired him and millions of others.

Cruz won the endorsement of the two-term Republican governor on Tuesday and touted his backing during a rally outside of Milwaukee.

Cruz calls Walker a “strong, principled conservative” and notes that he won three elections over four years. Walker defeated a recall election in 2012 spurred by his push to all-but-eliminate collective bargaining for public workers.

Cruz said “millions of men and women all across the state of Wisconsin stood with Gov. Scott Walker” during that fight.

Cruz described that a “heroic stand” that inspired millions across the country, including him.

Walker says he plans to campaign with Cruz this week.


10:10 a.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is endorsing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential race.

Walker announced his decision Tuesday on Milwaukee conservative talk radio, saying “it’s time we elect a strong new leader. I’ve chosen to endorse Ted Cruz.”

Walker had signaled last week that he was likely to back Cruz, saying then that he was the only candidate who has a chance at beating front runner Donald Trump. When Walker ended his presidential campaign last year, he called on others to join him in dropping out to make it easier to defeat Trump.

It’s unclear how much Walker’s backing will help Cruz in the state ahead of its April 5 primary. Walker’s approval rating hasn’t exceeded 40 percent in over a year.


9:15 a.m.

Donald Trump plans to make his first campaign appearance in Wisconsin with a rally in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s hometown, while the four other presidential candidates are also converging on the state a week before its primary.

Trump’s rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Tuesday comes as he tries to stave off Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been campaigning in the state for a week. Cruz was expected to land the endorsement of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who said he would announce his decision Tuesday morning.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is keeping up his role trying to play spoiler for Trump by campaigning in Wisconsin.

Democrat Hillary Clinton is scheduled to partake in a gun violence forum in Milwaukee, while her rival, Bernie Sanders, is heading to Appleton and Milwaukee.