Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes grilled GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on his treatment of Heidi Cruz and other instances of sexism in a tough Monday-morning interview.
Sykes, a Trump critic, began the interview on WTMJ by asking Trump if he’d apologise to Heid Cruz, the wife of his main GOP presidential competitor, Ted Cruz, for promoting an unflattering picture of her on Twitter last week.
Trump deflected, and blamed Ted Cruz for starting the back and forth, which was ongoing for most of the past week.
The billionaire blamed Cruz for supposedly “knowing” about an ad from an unaffiliated super PAC released before last week’s Utah primary contest. The ad featured Melania Trump posing nude for GQ magazine when she was a model.
“Ted Cruz knew totally about it,” Trump insisted. “He says he didn’t know about it but he totally knew about it. They sent that out to the people of Salt Lake City or the people of Utah. … He totally knew about it, if he didn’t know about it, it would be a different story but he totally knew about it. It was done by people that he knows very well.”
Sykes pointed out that the ad did not come from Cruz’s campaign.
“I’m just telling you he knew, he knew people did it,” Trump said.
Sykes then asked Trump why he wouldn’t simply praise both candidates’ wives and move on to the issues.
“I don’t know Ted Cruz’s wife, I’m sure she’s excellent,’ Trump said.
“All this was was a response to what she did,” he continued, “It was a very minor response to what he did. I didn’t even know if it was necessarily a very bad picture of her versus Melania, frankly.”
Sykes used the discussion regarding Trump’s treatment of Cruz’s wife as an opportunity to discuss broader issues of sexism. He asked Trump about a recent commercial, from another anti-Trump PAC, that featured women read critical statements Trump has said about other women’s looks.
“Women are just going to have to see what I’ve done,” Trump said, later adding that “people have said, that in terms of breaking the glass ceiling, that I was a leader in it.”
Later in the interview, Sykes asked Trump if he was aware that Sykes was “a ‘hashtag never Trump’ guy.” Trump said he had no idea.
“I assume you’re also an intelligent guy,” Trump said. “I know you’re an intelligent guy.”
Sykes followed up by saying he failed his Wisconsin audience by being unable to get Trump to apologise for his treatment of Cruz’s wife.
“Well can I get an apology from somebody who sent out a picture of my wife?” Trump said.
He knew about that. Is he going to apologise? Is he going to apologise for starting it? And by the way, it was an artsy picture. It wasn’t anything horrible. It wasn’t Penthouse or Playboy or anything like that.
Sykes asked if Trump believed in apologizing for anything.
“I do apologise, I believe in apologizing,” Trump replied. “I think before I’d think about apologizing, he owes me an apology. Because what he did was wrong.”
Sykes, in an attempt to give Trump advice, also said Wisconsinites would be thrilled if Trump simply announced that candidates’ wives were off limits.
“I don’t mind that at all, I think that’s great I think that’s fine,” Trump said. “Who wouldn’t agree to that? I think it’s great. [But] I didn’t start it, he started it.”
Listen to the full interview below:
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