Donald Trump has been officially banned from one of the biggest gatherings of conservative activists after implying he received hostile questioning during the first Republican presidential debate because the television moderator was menstruating.
Trump was uninvited from the RedState Gathering late on Friday after saying in a CNN interview that Fox News's Megyn Kelly "had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever", while questioning him during Thursday night's debate.
The real estate mogul had been scheduled to appear at a special tailgate at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta at the close of RedState Gathering on Saturday night.
Erick Erickson, the organizer of the event and a major conservative activist tweeted late on Friday night, "I have rescinded my invitation to Mr. Trump. While I have tried to give him great latitude, his remark about Megyn Kelly was a bridge too far."
In a follow-up blog post, Erickson amplified why he was disinviting Trump: “there are even lines blunt talkers and unprofessional politicians should not cross,” he wrote. “Decency is one of those lines.”
The falling-out marked the first major break with Trump from a key figure in the mainstream conservative movement. Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak said: "This is the first time that a significant figure in the conservative movement has stood up to Trump and it's cost him anything.
“I expect Trump to lash out at Erick but Erick wins when he fights and has a huge microphone and speaks to a lot of conservatives across the country.”
Mackowiak added it also represents a missed opportunity for Trump to speak to conservative activists and reporters who had gathered for the event.
Trump's latest comments about Kelly also met with an immediate rebuke from the only woman running for the Republican nomination. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina tweeted on Friday night, "Mr. Trump: There. Is. No. Excuse."
Fiorina added in a follow-up tweet: “I stand with @megynkelly.”
The escalation over women’s issues represented only the latest in Trump’s series of controversial remarks.
He had previously implied Mexicans crossing the border into the United States were rapists, said longtime prisoner-of-war and torture victim John McCain was not a war hero and retweeted a comment that Kelly was "a bimbo" earlier on Friday.
Yet for all of Trump’s controversial remarks, the billionaire and former host of the Celebrity Apprentice remained at the top of polls in the Republican presidential primary heading into the weekend following the debate.
Erickson said he initially approached Trump’s campaign about the Kelly statement and that “they wouldn’t deny” it was a reference to menstruation. In the opinion of the conservative activist, “I don’t think I should have anyone on stage while my wife and daughter are watching who would say that on a female journalist.”
Erickson thought with the latest comments “Trump had disqualified himself” and the episode would be “the beginning of the end” of Trump’s campaign.
“I think it crossed a line of decency no one running for president should ever cross whether you are a professional or amateur politician,” Erickson said.
“This is my event, that I’m paying for and I can do whatever I want,” he said. “I wanted to have him here as a legitimate candidate, but no legitimate candidate suggests a female asking questions does so because she’s hormonal.”
A Trump campaign spokesperson responded: “This is just another example of weakness through being politically correct. For all of the people who were looking forward to Mr Trump coming, we will miss you. Blame Erick Erickson, your weak and pathetic leader. We’ll now be doing another campaign stop at another location.”