MILWAUKEE — Donald Trump on Sunday called for John Kasich to drop out of the Republican presidential race, arguing that the Ohio governor shouldn't be allowed to continue accumulating delegates if he has no chance of being the party's nominee.
Working to recover his edge after a difficult week, Trump said it wasn't fair for Kasich, the winner of only his home state so far, to continue his campaign. He suggested instead that Kasich, who has pledged to make it to the summer convention, follow the example of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush — candidates who quit after lagging behind.
"Honestly, Kasich should not be allowed to run," Trump told reporters at Miss Katie's Diner in Milwaukee, where he stopped for breakfast. The state holds its presidential primaries Tuesday.
Trump said he had relayed his concerns to Republican National Committee officials at a meeting in Washington this past week. He added that Kasich could ask to be considered at the GOP convention in Cleveland in July even without competing in the remaining nominating contests.
"He doesn't have to run and take my votes," he said.
Kasich's campaign tried to flip the script, contending that neither Trump nor Texas Sen. Ted Cruz would have enough delegates to win the nomination outright going into the July convention in Cleveland.
"Since he thinks it's such a good idea, we look forward to Trump dropping out before the convention," said Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf.
Kasich, in an earlier interview with ABC's "This Week," said he was expecting an "open convention" where delegates would look to him because of his experience in Congress and the state level.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton told NBC's "Meet the Press" that she had yet to receive a request from the FBI for an interview regarding the private email system she used as secretary of state, an issue dogging her campaign.
During a series of stops at Brooklyn church services, she got in a dig at her Democratic opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has identified as an independent for most of his career.
"I know we have to have a Democrat succeed Barack Obama," Clinton said.
Both Clinton and Sanders were looking ahead to the consequential April 19 primary in New York, where Sanders was born and Clinton served as senator. Clinton told ABC News she planned to attend a debate the network hopes to hold in New York on April 15, and Sanders said he expected to reach agreement on the debate as well.
Sanders fired up a crowd in Wausau, hoping to continue his string of recent campaign victories even as Clinton maintains a sizable lead among delegates.
Trump's call for Kasich to bow out came as Republican concerns grew about the prospect of convention chaos if Trump fails to lock up his party's nomination — or even if he does.
Behind Cruz in the polls in Wisconsin, Trump faces the prospect that a loss Tuesday will raise further doubts that he can net the needed delegates, making it far easier for his party to oust him in a floor fight at the convention.
Cruz, Trump's closest challenger, has only a small chance to overtake him in the delegate hunt before the convention. He spent his afternoon rallying supporters in Wisconsin in an event heavy with references to the state's beloved Green Bay Packers.
Kasich has acknowledged he cannot catch up in the delegate race, leaving a contested convention his only path to victory. He has faced calls in the past to step aside, but those nudges became less frequent following his decisive victory last month in his home state.
Still, Kasich suggested that a contested convention would not involve the chaos that party leaders fear. He told ABC that a contested convention will be "so much fun."
"Kids will spend less time focusing on Bieber and Kardashian and more time focusing on how we elect presidents," Kasich said. "It will be so cool."
Republicans fear an unseemly internal fight would damage the party in November's general election, and Trump isn't ruling out the possibility that if he's not the nominee, he could run as an independent, making it that much harder for the GOP to retake the White House.
Such talk has "consequences," said GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, though he tried to quell the prospect of a convention fight. He told ABC that the process will be clear and open, with cameras there "at every step of the way."
Frustration with the GOP field has stoked calls in some Republican corners for the party to use a contested convention to pick someone not even on the ballot. Priebus acknowledged that was a remote possibility, but he said he believed his party's candidate would be "someone who's running."
Working to right his campaign after a rough patch, Trump has found himself on the defensive, struggling to explain away controversies over abortion, nuclear weapons and his campaign manager.
"Was this my best week? I guess not," Trump said on "Fox News Sunday."
Yet as he campaigned in Milwaukee, Trump returned to the confident bravado his supporters have come to expect. Though he acknowledged his recent missteps "might" have cost him some support from female voters, he predicted "great success" on Tuesday after greeting diners at Miss Katie's.
"I think this has the feel of a victory," he told reporters, as a plate of untouched fried eggs and bacon grew cold.
In Egypt, a former Trump rival tried to reassure an Arab world wary of a possible Trump presidency. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Congress would continue to play a primary role in foreign policy, "regardless of what Mr. Trump says or does."
"The Congress is going to be around no matter who is president," Graham told reporters after meeting with Egypt's leader. Trump has called for banning Muslim immigration to the United States.
On the delegate front, North Dakota Republicans at their state convention were set to select 25 of their 28 national delegates on Sunday. North Dakota isn't holding a primary or caucus in the 2016 race. Nevada Democrats held county conventions on Saturday, leading up to a final determination of delegates at a statewide convention in May. Clinton turned backed a challenge from Sanders in the state's caucuses in February.
Lederman reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Lisa Lerer in New York, Scott Bauer in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Todd Richmond in Wausau, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.