Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump responded to the chaos that erupted at Tuesday night’s Iowa press conference, in which Trump threw out a reporter who tried to question him on immigration, saying it was the reporter who was “totally out of line.”
“I’m not a bully, you saw that last night,” Trump said on the “TODAY” show Wednesday morning. “He was totally out of line last night.”
Univision anchor Jorge Ramos attempted to ask a question without being called on at Trump’s press conference after an Iowa rally, but the business mogul told him to “sit down” and “go back to Univison,” before having him escorted out by security. (Ramos was allowed to return later and the two had a testy exchange over immigration.)
Trump’s handling of Ramos is nothing new: The billionaire real estate mogul, now the frontrunner in the GOP primary race, routinely berates and abuses the media. In the middle of the first Republican presidential debate, Trump balked at Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s tough questions and threatened to be mean to her. He complained of unfair treatment for days afterward, promoting tweets that declared her a “bimbo.”
On Monday night, after a two-week cease-fire, Trump tweeted critically about her again, saying she was “off her game” and had “no clue about immigration.”
Trump addressed his attacks on her on Wednesday, refuting “TODAY” host Matt Lauer’s theory that he had a crush on Kelly.
“Trust me, Matt, there is no crush,” he said. “She hit me with questions that were totally inappropriate.”
Brusque handling of the press is part of Trump’s brand, attracting legions of conservative supporters who say they’re sick of the political status quo.
Trump is keenly aware of this, telling “TODAY” that his attacks on the political establishment are fueling his success.
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Americans are “tired of the Jeb Bushes of the world, they’re tired of the Bushes, they’re tired of the Clintons, they’re tired of the politicians running this country into the ground, I think that’s why we have the biggest crowds,” he said.
Still, his rude handling of Ramos – who has been called the Walter Cronkite of Latino America – feeds into the idea that Trump just doesn’t like Latinos.
Ramos, like much of the Spanish-language press, has been highly critical of Trump’s far-right views on immigration, including his plan to deport all 11 million or so undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and build a massive border wall. A majority of Latinos have a negative view of Trump, according to a Gallup poll released on Tuesday.
Trump, however, swears he’s loved by all: “I have a great relationship the Mexican people,” he told NBC News in the wake of outrage over his assertion that Mexican immigrants illegally coming into the U.S. are criminals, rapists, and drug dealers. ”I love them, they love me!”