— -- Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump pushed back at suggestions by the fact-checking site Politifact that his collective campaign misstatements deserved their “Lie of the Year” award, he said during an interview with ABC News' Jon Karl.
“Politifact is a group that if I said something right down the middle they are always going to be negative,” he told Karl after taking the stage at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “They are leaning in a certain direction, and no matter what you do with them, I mean they are a very dishonest group in my opinion.”
In the bestowing of their ignominious award, Politifact included Trump’s allegations that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. They also said that of the 77 statements they fact-checked, 76 rated "mostly false," "false" or "pants on fire."
“Donald Trump doesn’t let facts slow him down," Politifact wrote. "Bending the truth or being unhampered by accuracy is a strategy he has followed for years.”
The real estate, who once owned the pageant but sold it, said the Miss Universe kerfuffle was the issue he had been asked the most about during the last 24 hours.
“It was just a mistake, he read the card wrong. I mean it was simple, he just read it wrong. And you know it is crazy the way life works. It is probably going to end up being a good thing for the Miss Universe ‘cause all over the world that is what they want to ask about,” he said.
The interview with Trump happened after the 2016 frontrunner battled with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over her contention that ISIS was using his disparaging statements about Muslims as a recruiting tool.
“He is becoming ISIS's best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists,” Clinton said during Saturday’s Democratic debate on ABC News.
During his speech, Trump again repeated his demanded for Clinton to apologize for her accusations during Saturday's debate.
“She’s terrible. ‘Donald Trump is on video and ISIS is using him for the video to recruit.’ And it turned out to be a lie," he said. "She’s a liar. No, it turned out to be a lie."
Clinton’s camp doubled down, with campaign chairman John Podesta going on a Twitter spree to back up her claim, made during Saturday’s Democratic debate, although Podesta didn’t actually cite any videos being used by ISIS that feature Trump.
Earlier Monday, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon responded “hell no” when asked whether the former Secretary of State would apologize, later appearing on cable television to explain why not.
“There is footage all across the Middle East airing of the comments that he made and the proposal he made to bar Muslims from entering the United States,” Fallon said.
But Trump noted that so far, the Clinton campaign hasn’t come up with a specific instance where his words are featured in an ISIS video.
“[ISIS members] are using lots of things I imagine to recruit but they didn’t use me on a video and I am not sure they used me at all frankly,” he said.