PENSACOLA, Florida (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Wednesday he’s proud of kicking one of the country’s best-known Spanish-language journalists out of an Iowa news conference — the latest in a series of clashes with the media.
“I think I handled that well. I got a lot of credit for it,” Trump boasted to conservative radio host Laura Ingraham a day after his bodyguards escorted Univision’s Jorge Ramos out of the event.
The latest spat for Trump comes as his rivals continue to grapple with how best to compete against the unpredictable billionaire businessman, who has skyrocketed to the top of summertime polls.
At a campaign event Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sighed when a member of the town hall audience uttered Trump’s name.
“Do we have to talk about this guy?” Bush asked.
Bush went on to criticize Trump’s immigration plan, specifically his proposal to build a massive border wall, calling it impractical and out of step with conservative principles because of its cost.
Trump has said he’ll get the Mexican government to pay for the wall, without specifying how he would do so.
“It is not feasible to build a wall as the sole solution,” Bush said. “It’s a simple thing to say and I’m sure it’s great for our friends in the press, but it’s not practical and it’s not conservative.”
He also criticized Trump’s clash with Ramos, saying all journalists should be treated with “dignity and respect.” He added that Trump needs to be held accountable by reporters.
“Go through these questions,” Bush said, “and what you’ll find is this guy doesn’t have a plan.”
Ramos was ultimately allowed back into Trump’s news conference, and they quickly resumed their argument over his immigrations proposals, interrupting each other during an extended back-and-forth.
The dispute didn’t go unnoticed on the Democratic side of the campaign, as front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton seized on Trump’s immigration rhetoric to argue his positions aren’t all that different from those held by the long list of other Republican candidates.
Speaking at an event in Ankeny, Iowa, she said Trump and his rivals don’t support a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants living in the country illegally. She said calls from some, including Trump, to repeal the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees birthright citizenship, are “out of touch” and “out of date.”
“Don’t get distracted by the flamboyant front-runner,” she said. “Most of the other Republican candidates are just Trump without the pizazz or the hair.”
Trump’s confrontation with Ramos, an Emmy Award-winning anchor who hosts the evening news program on the biggest Spanish-language network in the U.S., came a day after he resumed his feud with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
Trump welcomed Kelly back from a vacation Monday night by tweeting that he liked her show better while she was away. Fox News chief Roger Ailes called on Trump to apologize.
Ramos and Kelly commiserated a bit on Kelly’s TV show Wednesday night.
“What is it like to be caught in the crosshairs of a billionaire presidential front-runner?” Kelly asked.
“Well, you know exactly how it feels,” Ramos replied.
During his conversation Wednesday with Ingraham, Trump toned down his attacks against Kelly, saying their spat was “not a death struggle, not a big deal.”
“Actually I watched her show last night. She was very nice and I appreciated it,” he said.
He said he and Ailes had just gotten off a phone call together, and praised the executive as “a good friend of mine” and a “special guy.”
Asked if he was going to continue his Twitter campaign against Kelly, Trump said, “No, I have much bigger things to think about, honestly.”
Colvin reported from Newark, New Jersey. Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey contributed to this report from Ankeny, Iowa.