Presidential candidate Donald Trump defended himself Sunday from the fierce backlash he’s received for criticizing Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly, insisting he said nothing wrong and that he values women.
“I cherish women,” the real estate mogul told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” adding that he did not mean to imply that Kelly asked him sharp questions during the debate because she was menstruating.
“Who would say that?” Trump said Sunday. “Do you think I’d make a statement like that? Who would make a statement like that? Only a sick person would even think about that.”
The extraordinary exchange with Tapper showed how quickly Trump has shifted from a frontrunner who seemingly defied the laws of politics to the public face of a campaign in turmoil.
Over the past 48 hours, Trump’s own party has piled on to slam his incendiary choice of words, attacking with a vigor not seen during previous controversies during his presidential bid. The backlash has been more intense than what Trump faced over his previous comments on Mexican immigrants and Sen. John McCain’s war-hero status. Several of his Republican presidential opponents and even far-right leaning conservatives have called his attack on Kelly offensive and said it was driven by gender.
Trump handled the moment in characteristic fashion — refusing to give an inch to his detractors and telling Tapper he did “nothing wrong whatsoever.”
He blamed his Republican presidential opponents for fanning the flames of controversy, and claimed he meant to refer to her “nose and/or ears” — not a woman’s period.
Read more: CNN