So far Donald Trump’s strategy has been to double down whenever he’s accused of saying something offensive, so the only surprising thing about the candidate confirming Megyn Kelly’s point about his nasty attitude toward women is that he didn’t do it sooner. A new Rolling Stone Trump profile describes Trump’s reaction to seeing Carly Fiorina, the only woman in the GOP presidential primary, appear on his TV screen:>
When asked to respond on The Kelly File Wednesday night, Fiorina said she doesn’t know what Trump is talking about. “Honestly, Megyn, I’m not going to spend a single cycle wondering what Donald Trump means,” Fiorina said. “But maybe, just maybe, I’m getting under his skin a little bit because I am climbing in the polls.” Though she has refrained from making any obvious cracks about Trump’s appearance, Fiorina did take a jab at Trump during the “kids’ table” debate last month by criticizing his ties to the Clintons.
The current front-runner — he just became the first GOP candidate to top 30 percent in the polls — responded on Fox & Friends. His defense was similar to the one he mounted after he talked about blood coming out of Megyn Kelly’s whatever: You guys completely misunderstood what I meant! “I’m talking about persona, I’m not talking about looks,” Trump said. “The fact is that, I probably did say something about Carly, in a jocular manner. … I say that about a lot of people – ‘Look at that! That’s not going to be the president.’” He later talked about her record at Hewlett-Packard, calling her a “disaster CEO.”
Trump, who has an uncanny ability to make sure that news organizations have a reason to invite him on TV every single day, also seemed slightly miffed that no one seemed to care when people made fun of his looks during a different interview on CNN Thursday morning. “When I get criticized constantly about my hair, nobody does a story about, ‘oh, isn’t that terrible, they criticized Donald Trump’s hair’ … When she and other people hit me on things, nobody comes to my defense.”
“I have to win,” he added.
Trump was also the target of an unexpected insult on Wednesday. Ben Carson, who is so nice that even Trump hasn’t lashed out at him, poked at Trump’s faith when asked about the differences between them. “The biggest thing is that I realize where my success has come from, and I don’t in any way deny my faith in God,” said Carson. “And I think that probably is a big difference between us.”
When asked whether he thinks Trump’s professions of faith are insincere, he got in another subtle jab by quoting the Bible, which Trump has refused to do. "I haven’t heard it, I haven’t seen it," Carson said. "You know, one of my favorites, Proverbs 22:4, it says: ‘By humility and the fear of the Lord, our riches and honor and life.’ And that’s a very big part of who I am. Humility, and fear of the Lord. I don’t get that impression with him. Maybe I’m wrong."
Trump was asked to respond to Carson on Thursday, too. “When Ben Carson makes a phony statement, I am going to attack him,” Trump warned on CNN, adding, “Ben Carson is not going to be the next president, that I can tell you.”
Trump has repeatedly explained his grand theory of attacking opponents; as he said earlier this month on CNN when telling Don Lemon why he just had to insult Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, and Lindsey Graham, “I thought these people were all fine and they came after me and then I had to go after them and perhaps I did a better job than they did. But they all went down.”
“Who is he to question my faith?” Trump said on Thursday. “He knows nothing about me. I am a man of faith. I hardly know Ben Carson. I’m a believer, big league, in God. I will hit back on that.”
He added, with a final flourish, that Ben Carson made “low-energy” Jeb look like the “Energizer Bunny.”
The award for best Trump insult of the week goes to the Mexican network TV Azteca, which turned Trump’s remarks about Mexicans threatening the American dream into a lamentation about Mexico’s soccer team trouncing the U.S. team in a playoff match for the Confederations Cup next month.
This post has been updated throughout.