Today on CNN’s State of the Union, 2016 GOP President hopeful and President of The Trump Organization, Donald Trump, joined anchor, Jake Tapper.
For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.
MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”
Trump on Megyn Kelly: 'I did nothing wrong whatsoever'
Trump on if he was referring to Megyn Kelly being on her menstrual cycle: “Who would say that? Hey, Jake, I went to the Wharton School of Finance. I was an excellent student. I'm a smart person. I built a tremendous company. I had a show called "The Apprentice" that NBC desperately wanted me to do another season. …OK. I do all this stuff. Do you think I make a stupid statement like that? Who would make a statement like that? Only a sick person would even think about it.”
Trump’s response to Jeb Bush’s criticism of his “blood” comment: “Well, I think it's amazing, because, three days ago, he was talking so negatively about women's health issues. And I thought it was disgraceful, frankly. And I think that will go down to haunt him, and maybe be the same as Romney's 47 percent, which possibly cost him the election. Jeb was very negative on women's health. And when you're negative on women's health, you can forget about it. And I'm the exact opposite. I cherish women. I want to help women. I'm going to do things for women that no other candidate will be able to do. And it's very important to me. So, you know, it's sort of interesting. He then went back and apologized the following day, and said he misspoke. Well, he really did misspeak, and I thought it was disgraceful. So now he's telling me, or telling you, about what was said.”
Trump on feeling Megyn Kelly’s questions were unfair: “I have nothing against Megyn Kelly. I think her question was extremely unfair to me. Her whole questioning was unfair to me.”
Trump on if he feels he made a mistake going against Fox News’ “beloved” Megyn Kelly: “…when you say beloved, I will say this. On social media, I'm the one that's beloved, OK, because if you look at social media and what's happening, they are really coming out strongly in favor of Donald Trump. They agree.”
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: But, first, joining me on the phone is the man at the center of it all, the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump, thanks so much for calling in. We appreciate it.
TRUMP: Good morning, Jake.
TAPPER: So, I want to start by playing for you what Jeb Bush said yesterday in response to your comments about Megyn Kelly. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Come on.
BUSH: Give me a break. I mean, are we - do we want to win? Do we want to insult 53 percent of all voters?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BUSH: What Donald Trump said is wrong. That is not how we win elections. And, worse yet, that is not how you bring people together to solve problems. That is not the way to do it.
So, your decision, I think, was the right one. Mr. Trump ought to apologize.
ERICKSON: Thank you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Mr. Trump, your response to Jeb Bush?
TRUMP: Well, I think it's amazing, because, three days ago, he was talking so negatively about women's health issues. And I thought it was disgraceful, frankly. And I think that will go down to haunt him, and maybe be the same as Romney's 47 percent, which possibly cost him the election. Jeb was very negative on women's health.
And when you're negative on women's health, you can forget about it. And I'm the exact opposite. I cherish women. I want to help women. I'm going to do things for women that no other candidate will be able to do. And it's very important to me. So, you know, it's sort of interesting. He then went back and apologized the following day, and said he misspoke. Well, he really did misspeak, and I thought it was disgraceful. So now he's telling me, or telling you, about what was said.
Well, let me ask you, what was said? She was very angry because I bested her with a question that was a very fair - unfair question. So, she was very angry. And when I was speaking about it on a CNN show, by the way, which was interesting, but I was speaking about her, I said blood was pouring from her eyes or out of her eyes, which is a very common statement. And, by the way, I said the same thing about Chris Wallace.
TAPPER: That's right.
TRUMP: Nobody said anything.
TAPPER: You did.
TRUMP: But I said the exact same thing about Chris Wallace.
TAPPER: But then you said she had blood...
TRUMP: Correct. And then I said...
TAPPER: Then you said blood coming out of her wherever.
TRUMP: I said - no. I said blood was pouring for wherever, because I wanted to finish the sentence, because I went to something - I wanted to get off of the whole thing and get back on to the subject of jobs or whatever we were talking to - about right after that. So, I didn't even say anything, because I didn't even finish the thought. I was going to say nose and/or ears, because that's a very common statement, blood flowing out of somebody's nose. It's a statement showing anger. She had great anger when she was questioning me, especially since I mentioned something. That was the Rosie O'Donnell statement, which everybody said was, by far, the loudest applause of the entire day of all of the speakers. And I think you would agree.
TAPPER: Well, Mr. Trump, let me ask you, so...
TRUMP: And she became very angry.
TRUMP: And all I was - all I was doing was referring to her anger. I said nothing wrong whatsoever.
TAPPER: So, Erick Erickson...
TRUMP: And only - and, by the way, Jake, let me just tell you this.
TRUMP: Only a deviant would say that what I said was what they were referring to, because nobody can make that statement. You almost have to be sick to sort of put that together, I think.
TAPPER: Well, among that list of deviants would be Erick Erickson...
TRUMP: Well, take a look at his past.
TAPPER: ...Jeb Bush, Lindsey - Lindsey Graham.
TRUMP: First of all, he's a loser.
TAPPER: Carly Fiorina.
TRUMP: Jake - Jake, Carly Fiorina. OK, give me a break. She's got - she's got zero chance.
TAPPER: But a lot of - why do you think so many conservative - why do you think so many of your fellow colleagues, fellow candidates, so many conservative commentators are saying that they don't believe your explanation?
TRUMP: Because they want to be politically correct. They want to get points.
I'm leading in the polls by a fortune. They wouldn't - by a tremendous margin. They wouldn't have had - do you think they would have had 24 million people watching that show if I wasn't on? If I wasn't on that show, Jake, in all fairness - and I say it in all due modesty - you would have had two million people, not 24 million people. And you can ask any expert about it. But 24 million people was not there to watch Carly Fiorina or Jeb Bush, that - or Lindsey Graham, who, by the way, has zero in the polls. I mean, he's been...
TAPPER: Let me ask you a question, sir.
TRUMP: He's been my biggest...
TRUMP: He's been my biggest critic, and he has zero in the poll and, by the way, came to me asking for campaign contributions and everything else. People don't say that. Perry of Texas, he started attacking me quite viciously, and he went down in the polls, Jake.
TRUMP: So, I mean, you know, this is one of those things that I have to put up with.
TAPPER: Let me just ask you a question, sir. Do you - I understand you're saying that you did not mean to suggest that Megyn Kelly was having her period. You were saying...
TRUMP: Of course I didn't, Jake.
TRUMP: Who would say that? Hey, Jake, I went to the Wharton School of Finance. I was an excellent student. I'm a smart person. I built a tremendous company. I had a show called "The Apprentice" that NBC desperately wanted me to do another season.
TAPPER: Yes, I'm familiar with your work, sir.
TRUMP: OK. I do all this stuff.
Do you think I make a stupid statement like that? Who would make a statement like that? Only a sick person would even think about it.
TAPPER: Why do you think that there are so many people jumping on you, stating that that is what you were saying? So many - we're not talking about...
TRUMP: Because they're - Jake, Jake...
TAPPER: In all due respect, sir, we're not talking about the women's studies department at Oberlin. We're talking about conservatives. We're talking about the Concerned Women for America issuing a statement saying - quote - "Every presidential election since 1964 has been carried by women. Women don't like mean, and we certainly don't vote for men or women we don't trust."
A lot of conservatives really upset, not...
TRUMP: But, Jake, you're asking me, why are these people coming and saying this?
TRUMP: And most of them, most of the ones that - that I have seen are just opposing candidates.
I'll tell you, it's a stupid question, Jake, in all due respect. If they're running against me, some of them like Carly are very low in the polls. I hope she goes up. I would like to see her go up, actually. But she's very low in the polls. Lindsey Graham, all these people that came out, they're running against me, Jake. They're running against me. I would say it, too, if I was at 1 percent or 2 percent or zero percent. I would say it against me because, I don't know if you just saw, but North Carolina, South Carolina just came out massively. It's Nevada. New Hampshire, I'm winning big in New Hampshire, winning big in Iowa, winning big - they're incredible people - winning big in Iowa, winning big all over the place, Jake.
Georgia just came out.
TAPPER: No, you're...
TRUMP: And the national polls, I'm winning by double digits.
TAPPER: And this is what's interesting
TRUMP: So, then you ask - and then you ask, why are these people...
TAPPER: Well, I didn't mean - I didn't mean your opponents. I meant conservative activists, people like Erick Erickson, the Concerned Women...
TRUMP: Because a lot of them are for other people, Jake.
TRUMP: Erick Erickson, I hear, folks - look, he has such a spotty record. Have you seen what he said about women and other things over the years? I have - I have seen things that he said where he was admonished. But look at what this guy said. The guy's a loser. He's backed so many candidates that have lost. And I - frankly, I didn't want to do his event in the first place. But somebody said, oh, you - you know what? It was even a small event. And tell me, what happened at his event when I didn't show up? Do you know the unrest and do you know how - how devastated people were when I didn't go there?
TAPPER: I wasn't there.
TRUMP: They were very unhappy.
TAPPER: I know - I'm sure there were people that were upset about it. You have a lot of fans.
This is what's interesting about your campaign. Every time you make these comments or you make comments that a lot of pundits or Republican candidates say are going to end your campaign, whether it's comments about Mexico sending in illegal immigrants, or your comments about John McCain's war record, every time you do that, pundits say, "Oh, he's gone," and then you go up in the polls.
I'm wondering if you think, though, that going after Megyn Kelly, who is beloved by conservatives, beloved by Republican voters, I wonder if that's the wrong target, that this might actually hurt you.
What do you think?
TRUMP: Well, look, I have nothing against Megyn Kelly.
I think her question was extremely unfair to me. Her whole questioning was unfair to me. And when you say beloved, I will say this. On social media, I'm the one that's beloved, OK, because if you look at social media and what's happening, they are really coming out strongly in favor of Donald Trump. They agree. And this whole thing with this political correctness in this country is out of control. We have a country where you - you take a look at what's happening all over the world. They're chopping off people's heads if you happen to be a Christian all over the Middle East, or - and they are for plenty of other reasons, too.
The border, I turned out to be so right on the border. It's so dangerous and so bad. And then you see what happens to Kate in San Francisco, where people are crossing the border like it's water. And it's - you know, it's terrible what's going on. And all we worry about is political correctness. Jeb Bush, who came out so, I mean, horribly with the women's issue the other day, with the women's health issue, Jeb Bush comes up and he says, I don't like Donald Trump's tone.
Well, we need a tougher tone in this country, and we need a lot more enthusiasm, because these people don't have any energy. There's no energy. We need to bring our country back, make our country great again. Our country is going down into the ground. We're really getting decimated on trade deals, everything we do. The Iran deal is so bad.
We have people that are incompetent running our country, and we have to bring it back. And you can't do that by nice low-key tone, like Jeb Bush. He's got no energy. I mean, the man has no energy. And then he gets up and criticizes me over the weekend about something that I didn't even say.
TAPPER: Very interesting.
Donald Trump, as always, we appreciate your calling in. We appreciate your taking my questions. I hope you have a good Sunday. Thank you, sir.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, Jake. Great honor.
TAPPER: Appreciate it.
TRUMP: Thank you.