Real-estate magnate Donald Trump reamed Fox News moderators and associates during a lengthy Twitter rant early Friday morning, hours after the first Republican presidential debate.
Trump went off on moderator Megyn Kelly, who he said “bombed.” Kelly had perhaps the most contentious exchange of the night with Trump when she asked him about a slew of past offensive comments toward women.
And Trump had harsh words for Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who conducted a focus group of Republican voters that gave Trump brutal reviews after the debate. He called Luntz a “clown” and a “slob.”
Trump also spent a good chunk of time retweeting people who praised his performance. One of those tweets he quoted had bashed Kelly and referred to her as a “bimbo.”
Here’s (most of) the rant:
The moderators targeted Trump from the get-go with the kind of provocative, specific questions the GOP front-runner hasn’t faced much on the campaign trail. The debate started with moderator Bret Baier asking all 10 candidates on stage if they would pledge to back the eventual nominee. Trump was the only one who refused to take the pledge.
“I cannot say I have to respect the person that — if it’s not me — the person that wins,” Trump said.
This answer didn’t sit well with Luntz’s focus group. Many Republican voters among the group cited it as a reason their opinions grew more negative of Trump during the debate.
“I was repulsed by it,” one respondent said. “If he runs third party, Republicans lose. Period.”
“It’s a divide-and-conquer strategy, basically,” another respondent said. “He’s splitting the party. He’s basically going to take away focus from the candidate who’s going to be leading.”
Things didn’t get any easier for Trump from there. Kelly’s first question to him brought up past comments and accused him of being insensitive and offensive toward women.
“You’ve called women you don’t like, ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ slobs, and disgusting animals,” Kelly opened a question to Trump.
“Only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump quipped.
“No it wasn’t. For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell. Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” Kelly asked Trump.
Trump went on to say he thinks a major problem with America is its trend toward being “politically correct.” And he told Kelly if she didn’t like it, “I’m sorry.”
“I think the big problem this country has being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness,” he said.
“And to be honest you, this country doesn’t have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don’t win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico, both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody. And frankly, what I say — and oftentimes it’s fun, it’s kidding, we have a good time — what I say is what I say. And honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that.”
New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported early Friday that Trump’s advisers had been especially wary of Kelly coming into the debate, as the two have “tangled” in the past.
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