Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he will be taking a “very serious look” at the questions Fox News host Megyn Kelly posed to him in the opening moments of the first presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle.
Kelly, one of three moderators in Thursday night’s debate, opened her first question to Trump by listing the derogatory remarks she said he has made about women, ranging from “fat pigs” to “dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.”
Wow, @megynkelly really bombed tonight. People are going wild on twitter! Funny to watch.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2015
“We’re going to look at that very carefully but I don’t recognize those words,” Trump 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.”
The New York real estate mogul did not back down from the words, instead pointing out that his response to Kelly – “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” he said after Kelly listed the terms – got the attention of the crowd inside Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.
“That got the biggest, I would say, the biggest laugh, applause … of the evening,” Trump said. “I mean that was a pretty startling noise in that arena.”
Another move by Trump that got the crowd’s attention – this time in the form of boos – came when he was the only one of the 10 candidates on stage to raise his hand when asked by moderator Bret Baier if anyone was “unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican Party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?”
Trump clarified today that he wants to run as a Republican and will not run as an Independent if, that is, he likes the eventual Republican presidential nominee, should it not be him.
“You know, I’ve been treated very nicely but if I’m treated with respect, which I should be, and if I like the person running, I’m not running as an independent,” Trump said on “GMA.”
“I want to run as a Republican. I think everyone knows that. I think the RNC [Republican National Committee] knows that and that’s what I’m looking to do and that’s certainly the best chance of winning."
“I’m not really a politician,” he added. “I think I’m somebody that’s going to try and straighten out this country and make America great again, that’s what I’m looking to do.”
Trump, who is leading in the polls, says he expects to go into the next debate as the front-runner again, despite getting questions that were, he said, “much, much more difficult and poignant and really unfair.”
“I guess that’s part of the game,” Trump, 69, said, adding that he gave “full answers” on the topics that have pegged him as a flip-flopper, his past support of a single-payer health care system and a woman’s right to choose an abortion.
“I mean, Ronald Reagan was a Democrat and he became a Republican,” he said. “You grow and you evolve and that’s what happened with me and that’s what happens with most people on that stage.”
Giving a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes at presidential debates, Trump, without naming names, said he “really did get to like” some of his nine fellow candidates on the stage.
“I have a lot of respect for a lot of people up on that stage,” Trump said, though he declined to identify candidates he would support, or not support, as the party’s nominee. “Some of the candidates I got to know, I’d never met, I didn’t know and they were really great people."
“That was a pretty heated deal,” Trump said of the more than two-hours-long debate. “I guess they said it would be record stuff, record type of ratings."
“I wonder what the ratings would have been if I wasn’t in the mix,” he added. “It would have been very interesting to see, frankly.”
Trump and the rest of the Republican presidential nominees are scheduled to meet again next month in a debate hosted by CNN at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.