Trump keeps swinging on campaign trail, rising in polls
Republican ejects reporter from press conference after he tries to ask question
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s greets the crowd during a rally in Dubuque, Iowa, this week. Photograph: Reuters/Ben Brewer
Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the polls to become the Republican presidential nominee next year, has courted controversy again on the campaign trail by insulting a Fox TV anchor and ejecting a Mexican-American journalist from a press conference.
The 69-year-old property tycoon, whose brash persona and bombastic electioneering has sent his support among primary Republican voters surging, while angering his opponents and independents, had veteran Univision television anchor Jorge Ramos removed from the conference after he tried to ask a question.
Mr Ramos attempted to question Mr Trump as the businessman was fielding a question from another reporter during the press conference while campaigning in the key political state of Iowa. “Sit down, you weren’t called,” the star of reality TV show The Apprentice told Mr Ramos. “Go back to Univision.”
The journalist was escorted from the room but was later permitted to ask two questions.
“He was totally out of line last night,” Mr Trump told NBC’s Today programme yesterday. “I was asking and being asked a question from another reporter. I would have gotten to him very quickly. He stood up and started ranting and raving like a madman.”
Mr Trump has also rekindled his row with the Fox News television host Megyn Kelly, which began over her questioning of him during the first Republican debate earlier this month. He quoted messages on Twitter describing her as a “bimbo” after she returned to the programme from her holidays.
“I liked The Kelly File much better without @megynkelly,” he tweeted. “Perhaps she could take another 11-day unscheduled vacation.”
The businessman felt he was treated unfairly by Ms Kelly during the Fox News debate and in her subsequent analysis and said she “had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” while she was moderating the debate with two others.
“Donald Trump’s surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing,” Mr Ailes said.
When asked about his pugnacious public face, Mr Trump told NBC: “I’m not a bully. In fact, I think it’s just the opposite.”
The lingering cloud of controversy around him is causing him little harm against a packed field of 16 other Republican candidates, as voters, fed up with Washington politics, have warmed to his anti-establishment rhetoric and outspoken, nativist remarks.
According to an average of national and local polls tracked by the Real Clear Politics website, Mr Trump’s support stands at 22 per cent, more than twice the level of his nearest rival, Jeb Bush, the candidate thought to be most favoured by the Republican establishment.
His standing among minorities, a key demographic in a presidential ballot, is poor. A Gallup poll on Monday put his favourability rating among Hispanics at a negative 51 per cent, compared with a positive 11 per cent for Mr Bush.
A CNN poll last week showed most Republicans (58 per cent) believed the party had a better chance of winning the presidency if he wasn’t the party’s nominee.