Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has opened up a new media feud, taking on another popular TV news personality even as his appearances continue to draw big ratings.
Is Trump's belligerence the very core of his appeal? That's the question The Christian Science Monitor's Peter Grier posed in a piece about the candidate's feud with Fox News Megyn Kelly.
There’s no obvious ideological or demographic component in his voter base, after all. He gets a degree of support from all parts of the GOP spectrum. That means that to some extent, it is Trump’s personality that is the core of his appeal. And that personality is nothing if not pugnacious.
That’s what Republican pollster Frank Luntz appeared to find, anyway. He assembled a group of avowed Trump supporters in his D.C.-area office for a focus group on Monday night. According to an account of the focus group in Time magazine, the results left Mr. Luntz’s legs “shaking.” The Trumpians generally espoused a “we’re not going to take it anymore” anger.
Trump engaged in a prolonged confrontation Tuesday with Jorge Ramos, the Miami-based anchor for Univision, during a news conference in Dubuque, Iowa.
Ramos stood and began to ask Trump about his immigration proposal, which includes ending automatic citizenship for infants born in the United States to parents in the country illegally.
As Ramos began to speak, Trump interrupted him, saying he hadn't called on Ramos before repeatedly telling him to "sit down" and then saying, "Go back to Univision."
As one of Trump's security detail approached Ramos, the anchor continued to speak, saying: "You cannot deport 11 million people." Ramos was referring to Trump's proposal to deport all people in the country illegally before allowing some of them to return.
As he was taken from the room, Ramos said, "You cannot build a 1,900-mile wall," another proposal in Trump's plan.
Moments later, Trump justified Ramos' removal, saying: "He just stands up and starts screaming. Maybe he's at fault also."
In an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday morning, Ramos said he was not expecting to be tossed from the news conference.
"Never in my life — and I've been a journalist for more than 30 years — have I been thrown out of a press conference," he said.
As to criticism that he was acting more as an advocate than a journalist, Ramos replied, "As a journalist you have to take a stand. I think the best journalism happens when you take a stand."
Trump told NBC's "Today" show that Ramos "stood up and started ranting and raving like a madman. He was totally, absolutely out of line."
The Incident happened the day after Trump resumed his feud with Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly. Trump welcomed Kelly back from a vacation Monday night by tweeting that he liked her show better while she was away. He said Kelly "must have had a terrible vacation" because "she's really off her game," and retweeted a message that referred to her as a bimbo.
That drew a response from Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who called on Trump to apologize.
The billionaire businessman's immigration proposal has sparked intense debate within the 2016 Republican field. Several candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have called it "unrealistic," and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker bobbled his answer on whether he supports ending birthright citizenship.
Ramos was later allowed back into Tuesday's news conference. Trump greeted him politely, though they quickly resumed their argument, interrupting each other during an extended back-and-forth.
"Your immigration plan, it is full of empty promises," Ramos began. "You cannot deny citizenship to children born in this country."
"Why do you say that?" Trump replied. "Some of the great legal scholars agree that's not true."
Citizenship for infants born in the United States is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, and changing that would require amending the Constitution.
During the five-minute exchange, Ramos claimed that 40 percent of people in the country illegally enter through airports, not over the Mexican border. "I don't believe that. I don't believe it," Trump responded.
A 2006 report by the Pew Hispanic Center found that up to 45 percent of the people in the U.S. illegally entered with legal visas but overstayed them.
Trump said he did not believe that a majority of immigrants in the U.S. illegally were criminals, or in the country to commit crimes. "Most of them are good people," he said. But he described recent cases where people had been killed by assailants later determined to be in the country illegally.
Finally, Trump reminded Ramos that he was suing Univision, which dropped Trump's Miss Universe pageant after he described Mexican immigrants in the U.S. illegally as "criminals" and "rapists."
"Do you know how many Latinos work for me? Do you know how many Hispanics work for me?" Trump said. "Thousands. They love me."
Isaac Lee, chief executive officer of Univision, responded to the confrontation with a written comment: "We'd love for Mr. Trump to sit down for an in-depth interview with Jorge to talk about the specifics of his proposals."
AP Television Writers David Bauder in New York and Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.