Several of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE’s competitors in the Republican presidential race criticized the businessman’s attacks on Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly.
The outspoken billionaire criticized Kelly for her line of questioning during Thursday night’s televised GOP presidential debate. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” he said Friday.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took to Twitter on Saturday morning to defend Kelly, writing that “there’s no excuse for Trump’s comments.”
“@MegynKelly is a tough interview,” Walker added. “Being POTUS is tougher. @GOP candidates & media need to get back to how we’re going to turn U.S. around.”
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a major rival of Trump’s, on Saturday said the New York business mogul’s repeated gaffes disqualify him from the 2016 race.
“Donald Trump has proven once again that he doesn’t have the temperament to hold the nation’s highest office,” Perry said in a statement.
“Attacking veterans, Hispanics and women demonstrates a serious lack of character and basic decency, and his comments distract from the serious issues facing our country,” he added.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Trump offers sympathy for those charged with Jan. 6 offenses Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees MORE (R-S.C.) called on Trump to drop his campaign, saying he is unfit for the Oval Office.
“Enough already with Mr. Trump,” Graham said in a statement. “As a party, we are better to risk losing without Donald Trump that trying to win with him.”
“Due to Donald Trump’s unrelenting and offensive attack on Megyn Kelly and others, we are at a crossroads with Mr. Trump,” said Graham, who is also a 2016 candidate.
“These are statements not worthy of the office he is seeking nor consistent with the leadership we should expect from a Commander-in-Chief in these dangerous times,” he added.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Saturday expressed disbelief with Trump’s choice of words describing Kelly’s debate performance.
“Come on – give me a break,” Bush said in an appearance at Atlanta’s RedState Gathering.
“What Donald Trump said is wrong,” he said. “What he said does not win elections.”
“Worse yet, it is not something that brings people together,” added Bush, Trump’s closest competition for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. “Mr. Trump should apologize.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, meanwhile, used Trump’s battle with Kelly as a means of highlighting how inclusive his own campaign is.
“You don’t tear people down just because they disagree with you or stand up to you or question you,” Kasich said in a statement.
“I deliberately seek out different views in my life and work, and I am grateful for the strong women in my family, in my office, in my cabinet and on my campaign because they improve everything they touch.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Saturday said Trump’s views are not reflective of the overall GOP message.
“The Republican Party is not engaged in a war on women,” he told reporters after addressing the RedState Gathering in Atlanta.
Carly Fiorina, the only female in the Republican 2016 race, also rejected Trump’s comments on Friday evening.
“Mr. Trump: There. Is. No. Excuse,” she tweeted. “I stand with @MegynKelly.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) defended Kelly as a “terrific journalist” Saturday afternoon but criticized the media for quizzing him about her feud with Trump.
“Every Republican candidate should treat everyone with respect,” he told reporters after his own RedState Gathering appearance in Atlanta.
“I’m not going to engage in the back-and-forth on personalities,” Cruz added. “I get that’s what the media loves.”
Trump’s presidential campaign defended its figurehead in a statement Saturday morning.
“Mr. Trump made Megyn Kelly look really bad – she was a mess with her anger and caught totally off guard,” his campaign said in a statement.
“Mr. Trump said, ‘blood was coming out of her eyes and whatever,’ meaning nose, but wanted to move on to more important topics,” it said. “Only a deviant would think anything else.”
Trump was uninvited to this weekend’s conservative RedState Gathering in Atlanta on Friday hours after insulting Kelly.
The conflict stems from Thursday’s debate, where Kelly questioned Trump over whether any of his past statements on women were misogynistic or derogatory.
Phrases like “slob” and “fat pig,” she said, were some of Trump’s comments critics find questionable.
- Updated at 3:04 p.m.