ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
The Donald is fed up with Jon Huntsman.
The real estate mogul and reality television star accused the presidential candidate and former governor of Utah of picking a fight with him. Why the hard feelings?
Trump says it was because of a series of snarky comments tweeted earlier this week by Huntsman’s spokesman, Tim Miller. It all started on Monday when Huntsman rival, Mitt Romney, paid a visit to Trump in New York City.
“Hoping Romney wins the Trump endorsement today. Birtherism, trade wars, & helicoptering to press conferences really resonate in NH,” Miller tweeted.
Three days later, Miller tore into Trump anew, saying that his boss ”isn’t wasting his time w/ Presidential Apprentice. His focus is on real solutions to fix our economy.”
Not so fast, Trump said in an interview with ABC News on Friday. According to Trump, Huntsman’s people called Trump’s people at least once within the last few months to set up a get-together between the two.
“I didn’t call him back,” Trump said, “not that I would.”
And, wanting to put it in writing, Trump turned the tables Friday morning, dismissing the Huntsman spokesman’s dismissiveness: “@JonHuntsman called to set up a meeting. Haven’t returned his call,” Trump tweeted.
“Not true,” Miller shot back in an email message to ABC News, asserting that no one from the Huntsman campaign ever called the New York multimillionaire who has recently been holding court with other Republican hopefuls, including Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. (On Monday Trump is scheduled to sit down with Herman Cain, who has surged to third place in one recent national poll.)
“Unlike Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, our campaign is focused on real solutions to turn our economy around not political sideshows like Trump,” Miller countered.
“At some point, I would have responded to his phone call,” Trump told ABC in a phone interview. “He didn’t give me the chance when he went negative.”
Then, Trump aimed his fire at the press secretary, “Tim Miller, who I’ve never heard of. And probably will never hear of again.”
Trump said that Huntsman, who is staking his presidential hopes on a strong performance in New Hampshire, just “hasn’t resonated” with voters.
“The fact that he worked for Obama and that China cleaned our clock during his tenure make it very, very difficult,” Trump said.
The dispute about whether anyone from Team Huntsman actually called to schedule a sit-down with The Donald seems destined to remain a point of contention between the two camps, but Trump made one thing crystal clear about the meetings he’s been holding with other GOP presidential contenders: ”They call me I don’t call them.”