GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's next immigration challenge may be beyond the northern border Five big Trump narratives to watch Trump: Media trying to justify 'large scale immigration in Sweden' MORE went on the offensive on Thursday morning, attacking cable networks, slamming several presidential rivals and pushing back on Pope Francis.
"It was sort of interesting yesterday. Your reporter in South Carolina was absolutely terrible," Trump told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."
Trump was pushing back on the network's reporting that noted sparse attendance at the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce event and low turnout among black supporters.
Crowd has maybe filled out a bit more? pic.twitter.com/ze5nJiyFlX— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) September 23, 2015
"The room was full, every seat was full," Trump insisted.
"When I went to the stage, everybody rushed forward. ... They all rushed to the front of the room," Trump said on CNN. "When they did that, you had half the seats in the back empty because everybody was standing in the front.
"You can tell [CNN president] Jeff Zucker, I think it was terrible and disgusting reporting," Trump added.
Trump also knocked GOP presidential rival Marco RubioMarco RubioGOP loses top Senate contenders How does placing sanctions on Russia help America? Republicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy MORE, 44, describing the Florida senator as a "kid," adding on CNN, "I know about Syria more than Marco Rubio knows about Syria."
During another phone interview Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," the brash billionaire also clarified his attack on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from the previous day, in which he called her "shrill," saying the term didn't apply only to women, saying it also applied to Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulTrump’s feud with the press in the spotlight Rand Paul: We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge Rand Paul: John Bolton would be a 'bad choice' for national security adviser MORE (R-Ky.), another presidential rival.
Trump has maintained his position atop the crowded GOP field in several recent polls, though he has slipped 3 percentage points to 25 percent in a new Quinnipiac University poll.
During the CNN interview, Trump was also asked about Pope Francis's speech before U.S. bishops at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C. the previous day, in which he spoke warmly of immigrants to America.
"Perhaps it will not be easy for you to look into their soul; perhaps you will be challenged by their diversity. But know that they also possess resources meant to be shared. So do not be afraid to welcome them," Francis said in his speech.
"I think his words are beautiful and I respect the pope and I like the pope very much," Trump said, before pushing back on Francis's support for immigrants, saying, "We cannot afford this process" of immigration and highlighting crime being imported by those in the country illegally.
Trump also pushed back on the pontiff's remarks encouraging action on climate change, saying on CNN, "I think that clean air is a pressing problem. ... I am not a believer in climate change."