A day after restarting his feud with Fox News, Donald Trump added more fuel to his dispute with Latinos, which is the cornerstone of both his campaign and the GOP’s current nightmare. At the start of Trump’s press conference in Iowa on Tuesday night, Jorge Ramos, the most well-known Spanish-language news anchor in the U.S., stood and began asking a question as Trump called on another reporter. “Excuse me, sit down, you weren’t called. Sit down. Sit down. Sit down,” Trump barked. “You haven’t been called. Go back to Univision.”
As Ramos continued speaking, Trump looked over at a security officer, who then moved across the room. “I am a reporter. Don’t touch me. I have a right to ask the question,” Ramos protested, but the officer escorted him out.
Other journalists in the room were shocked that Ramos was kicked out. CNN political reporter Sara Murray said he “did something that’s not totally uncommon for reporters to do, which is to stand up and keep asking a question, even if the person you’re asking doesn’t really want to answer it.” When other reporters asked why Ramos was forced out, Trump said he “stood up and started screaming” and is “obviously a very emotional person.” But he added, “I don’t mind if he comes back.”
About 15 minutes later, Ramos returned, and he and Trump got into a lengthy exchange about immigration policy. “Here’s the problem with your immigration plan,” Ramos said. “It’s full of empty promises.” He asked Trump how he plans to deport 11 million people. “Very humanely,” Trump said. And how does he plan to construct a 1,900-mile wall across the United States’ southern border? “It’s very easy,” Trump said. “I’m a builder … What’s more complicated is building a building that’s 95 stories tall.”
When Ramos noted that a recent poll showed 75 percent of Latinos have a negative view of Trump, the candidate asked how much he’s seeking in damages in his lawsuit against Univision. “Do you know the number? I know you’re part of the lawsuit,” he said. “I’m a reporter,” Ramos answered. “Five hundred million dollars,” Trump said. “And they’re very concerned about it, by the way. I’m very good at this.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has tangled with Ramos. In addition to Trump’s lawsuit against Univision over its decision to drop the Miss Universe pageant following the candidate’s comments about Mexican immigrants, Ramos has called Trump “the loudest voice of intolerance, division and hatred right now in America.”
Ramos, who also has a show on Fusion, has been pursuing an interview with Trump for months. When he sent Trump a handwritten request in June, Trump posted the letter on Instagram, exposing Ramos’s cell-phone number (he later deleted the post). CNN Money reports that Ramos decided to travel to Iowa and try to ask Trump a question, though colleagues weren’t sure if he’d be allowed in.
Afterward, Ramos said he was “authorized” to be at the press conference, and thought it was his turn to ask a question. “It’s the first time in my life, anywhere in the world, in which I’ve been escorted out of a press conference,” he said.
Fusion CEO and president of news for Univision Isaac Lee has invited Trump to continue the conversation. “We’d love for Mr. Trump to sit down for an in-depth interview with Jorge to talk about the specifics of his proposals,” he said in a statement. Trump did end his exchange with Ramos by saying, “You and I, we’ll talk,” so maybe that’s a yes.
This story has been updated throughout.