Donald Trump warned of "riots" around the Republican National Convention should he fall slightly short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination and the party moves to select another candidate.
The remark from Trump, in an interview on CNN's "New Day," came less than 12 hours after he won the Republican primaries in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina and extended his delegate lead to roughly 200 over his closest competitor, Sen. Ted Cruz.
The front-runner, who has alternated between saying he wants to unite the party and savaging his rivals and critics, predicted a "natural healing process" in the party once the primaries end and the Republican convention takes place in Cleveland beginning July 18.
"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 somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we're way ahead of everybody, I don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically," Trump said. "I think it would be -- I think you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots. I'm representing a tremendous, many, many millions of people." He added: "If you disenfranchise those people and you say, well I'm sorry but you're 100 votes short, even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would have problems like you've never seen before. I think bad things would happen, I really do. I believe that. I wouldn't lead it, but I think bad things would happen." The comments came days after Trump was the subject of widespread criticism for his violent words against protesters at his rallies. His event in Chicago on Friday night was canceled as his supporters and people protesting him scuffled inside a University of Illinois at Chicago arena.
Never miss a local story.
While Trump is on course to have the most delegates by the end of the nominating contests in June, many of the party's donors and elected officials are panicked about the impact of a Trump nomination on the party and on races further down on the ballot, such as Senate and House contests. That dynamic sets up the potential for people to attack the person with the greatest probability of winning the nomination over the next three months.
Meanwhile, in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, Trump described himself as the person he listens to most on foreign policy.
"I'm speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I've said a lot of things," Trump said.
He went on, "My primary consultant is myself and I have -- you know, I have a good instinct for this stuff." He rejected labels of his foreign policy views as "neo-isolationist," as an earlier guest on the show described it.
But Trump, who has advocated for using torture methods against prisoners and said he wants to wipe out the Islamic State while also suggesting putting 20,000 to 30,000 troops in Syria, made clear he is in no rush to say who he is talking to beyond taking his own counsel.