The way Donald Trump sees it, he was still the big winner of Thursday night’s Fox News debate, even though he wasn’t on stage.
And at his campaign rally Friday in Nashua, N.H., the billionaire real estate mogul singled out the biggest loser — top rival Ted Cruz.
The Texas senator “got really pummeled,” Trump said. He later joked that Cruz, who Trump has argued is not qualified to be president because he was born in Canada, was “an anchor baby in Canada.”
Trump argued he came out on top in his fight with Fox News, too. He boycotted the debate after a longstanding feud with moderator Megyn Kelly and said satirical statements the network released this week pushed him over the edge.
As Trump told it, Fox News was still begging him to reconsider even late last night and that he “wanted to do it, frankly.”
But he said his participation would come with a price tag. As Trump relayed the story to a packed hotel ballroom, he told Fox to “give $5 million dollars, make a donation, $5 million dollars for the vets and I”ll come and do your debate.” Trump said Fox was “really unable psychologically to do that and I said that’s ok we went out and raised $6 million dollars which is fantastic so it worked out.”
Trump said he boycotted the Fox debate because “when somebody doesn’t treat you properly, you got to be tough, you got to be strong, you cant let them push you around. And that goes for the country, when you’re not treated properly you have to stick up for your rights.” Trump said if he is elected President “we’re going to stick up for the rights of the country.”
But with his focus back on the Granite State, Trump made politics local again, spending a portion of his speech returning to denounce another old foe, the New Hampshire Union Leader. The paper endorsed his rival New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last year, and he railed against its publisher Joe McQuaid “a bad person,” “incompetent,” “a psycho,” and an “ant.”
“Here’s the beauty of me,” Trump said, “I have a microphone where I can speak back.”
Trump seemed a bit hoarse after flying from Iowa to New Hampshire for the speech. He said he was operating on no sleep and that he was returning to Iowa.
But before leaving he did his most important task — urging his supporters to get out and vote.
“You gotta get out on the 9th and you gotta vote. For Trump,” he exclaimed. “If youre not going to vote for Trump, don’t vote. The Hell with that stuff.”