Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump clarified a comment he made about Fox News debate moderater Megyn Kelly that led him to be disinvited from a gathering of conservatives in Atlanta today.
Trump said he was referring to Kelly's nose when he told CNN Friday that "there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever" while speaking about questions she asked him during the first GOP debate Thursday. The comment led RedState's Erick Erickson to withdraw Trump's invitation from the event, which several other candidates were slated to attend.
"If you haven't heard, I disinvited Donald Trump," Erickson said as the second day of the event opened.
Erickson said when he heard about Trump's comment, he asked his campaign if Trump meant what was implied and whether he planned to clarify or apologize.
"It's disrespectful to Megyn Kelly. It's disrespectful to female journalists," he said. "I don't want my daughter in the room with Donald Trump."
Re Megyn Kelly quote: "you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever" (NOSE). Just got on w/thought— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2015
In a statement, Trump's campaign called Erickson a "total loser" who "has a history of supporting establishment losers in failed campaigns." His campaign said "only a deviant would think anything else" about Trump's comment about Kelly.
"Mr. Trump made Megyn Kelly look really bad --- she was a mess with her anger and totally caught off guard," his campaign said. "Mr. Trump said "blood was coming out of her eyes and whatever" meaning nose, but wanted to move on to more important topics."
Trump, who was leading in the polls going into the debate, told ABC News earlier Friday that he didn’t recognize some of the words Kelly used “whatsoever.”
“We’re going to look at that very carefully but I don’t recognize those words,” he said. “She came up with words that I didn’t recognize. so we’ll see what happens. We’re going to take a very serious look at it.”
Mr. Trump: There. Is. No. Excuse.— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) August 8, 2015
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who spoke at the event Friday, released a statement today saying Trump "has proven once again that he doesn’t have the temperament to hold our nation's highest office."
Meanwhile, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said it was up to Trump to apologize.
Cokie Roberts, an ABC News contributor who has moderated two past presidential debates, said the idea that Trump's past comments about women could topple his campaign was "baloney."
“If people were going to be upset about that, they would have been upset about a million other things he’s said,” said Roberts. “I don’t think women were flocking to him anyway.”
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush were among those slated to appear at the event Saturday. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke at RedState on Friday.