Trump dumps insults on questioners, insists on control
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump is used to controlling his world like the boss that he is. But as president, he'd answer to the American people. And so far in the rollicking 2016 presidential contest, he's showing little willingness to dial down his famous because-I-said-so style.
For Trump, the joy of the insult seems as compelling as art of the deal. Whether his challengers are reporters or other presidential candidates, they are, according to Trump: a bimbo, incompetent, weak, pathetic, disgusting and/or can't satisfy a husband.
"When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can," Trump has written in a chapter on business advice.
When that fails, he fires them.
On Tuesday night, the billionaire developer dismissed a Latino reporter from his press conference for demanding to know how Trump intended to deport all 11 million people in the country illegally. "I have a right to ask a question," said Univision's Jorge Ramos.
"No you don't. You haven't been called," Trump said. Trump merely tossed a glance to the left and a bodyguard escorted a protesting Ramos out. Trump's primacy re-established, he later let Ramos back into the conference and took his question.
In fact, Trump's reality show campaign is one of the things people like about him. Trump is at the top of the polls in the GOP field, drawing more passion and bigger crowds than his Republican competitors.
"It's totally refreshing," said Leigh Ann Crouse, 55, of Dubuque, as she waited in a 100-yard-long line Tuesday to see Trump. "He has a backbone, and he cannot be bought."
Here are some examples of Trump's I'm-in-charge-here approach to the 2016 presidential contest:
TRUMP vs JORGE RAMOS:
"Go back to Univision," Trump told Ramos, an anchor for the network.
It was the latest salvo in Trump's war with Univision, which began when the network cancelled its contract to broadcast his Miss Universe Organization pageants. Univision said it was responding to Trump's description of Mexican immigrants as "criminals" and "rapists" in his June campaign announcement speech. Trump is suing the network for $500 million for breach of contract and defamation — and bragging about it.
Five times during the news conference, Trump told Ramos to sit down. When that didn't work, the billionaire signaled to a security guard, who hustled Ramos out.
Later, Ramos was allowed back in. Trump extended an upturned hand toward Ramos and said, "Yes? Good, absolutely. Good to have you back."
Trump complained Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show that Ramos had been, "totally, absolutely out of line" and had been "ranting and raving like a madman."
"I'm not a bully," Trump said in the telephone interview. "In fact, I think it's just the opposite way."
TRUMP vs BUSH
Trump succeeded this week into prodding the former Florida governor, whose wife is Mexican-American, onto the defense on immigration issues. The two quarreled over the term, "anchor baby," which some find an offensive term to describe children born to people in the U.S. illegally. Bush defended himself by saying he'd been referring to wealthy Asians who come here to bear children. That earned Bush a chorus of demands for an apology to Asian people.
"Asians are very offended that JEB said that anchor babies applies to them as a way to be more politically correct to Hispanics," Trump gloated on Twitter. "A mess!"
TRUMP vs MEGYN KELLY:
Trump's feud with the popular Fox News anchor began during the first Republican primary debate, when Kelly called Trump out on his previous comments calling women "pigs" and "dogs."
Convinced that the question was out of line, Trump launched a full-blown campaign to discredit the anchor with a series of insulting Tweets and interviews. On CNN, he claimed that she'd had "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever" during the debate.
After what had seemed like a detente with the network, Trump's vitriol returned this week when Kelly came back from a long-planned vacation.
"@megynkelly must have had a terrible vacation, she is really off her game," he Tweeted Monday. He retweeted another comment that referred to her as a "bimbo."
TRUMP vs. FOX NEWS CHANNEL:
Fox News is the kind of beast that Republican wannabes rarely take on. Not Trump.
"I think they cover me terribly," he told reporters at the press conference in Iowa, in which he repeatedly railed against his coverage by the network, despite frequent appearances and phone-ins.
Trump returned to bashing Kelly this week, and the network chief Roger Ailes engaged.
"Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism and all of us at Fox News Channel reject the crude and irresponsible attempts to suggest otherwise," Ailes said in a statement demanding Trump apologize.
"I could not be more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump's verbal assaults," he added.
Trump, meanwhile, shows no signs of backing down, responding with his own statement further insulting Kelly.
"Hopefully in the future I will be proven wrong and she will be able to elevate her standards to a level of professionalism that a network such as Fox deserves," he said.
TRUMP vs LINDSEY GRAHAM:
Trump made clear he had zero regard for the rules of political decorum when he proceeded to read South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's personal cell phone number to a roomful of his supporters after Graham, one of his Republican rivals, called him a "jackass" on TV.
The two have continued to spar, with Graham calling Trump out as a policy lightweight and Trump mocking Graham's standing in the polls.
"Come to South Carolina, and I'll beat his brains out," a riled-up Graham told CNN Tuesday. "I know my state. This is a silly season in politics. He is shallow."
Trump responded: "Congrats @LindseyGrahamSC. You just got 4 points in your home state of SC_far better than zero nationally. You're only 26 pts behind me," he Tweeted.