Trump goes into attack mode

GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Trump’s changing immigration stance is ‘classic CEO process’ Trump spokeswoman: Position on immigration “not really complicated” Kaine tweets with the cast of 'Veep' MORE went on the offensive on Thursday morning, attacking cable networks, slamming several presidential rivals and pushing back on Pope Francis.

Trump reiterated claims that Fox News had treated him unfairly before knocking "another hit job" from a CNN reporter covering an event on Wednesday in South Carolina.

"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.

"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 RubioLatino Republicans split on Trump's outreach Illegal immigration foe: Trump shift the 'death knell of his candidacy' Analysis: Clinton speaks at higher grade level than Trump 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, Clinton boost Snapchat spending Clinton enjoying edge over Trump in Silicon Valley Trump gets little backing from Silicon Valley 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."

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