Donald Trump said during a news conference today that boycotting Fox News Channel’s GOP debate on the eve of the Iowa caucuses might have cost a first-place finish last night, but he insisted he did very well on a cost-per-delegate basis. As he regrouped to focus on New Hampshire, Trump also slammed reporters for calling his second-place finish a loss while declaring No. 3-ranked Marco Rubio a winner, and not mentioning at all those seasoned politicians who finished well behind him.
“It could have been the debate,” acknowledged a less bombastic, more reflective Trump (for him, anyway) at this afternoon’s news conference in Milford, where he’s campaigning in advance of New Hampshire’s February 9 primary. “If I had to do it again, I would have done the exact same thing,” he insisted. “You know why? I raised $6M for vets in one hour” by counterprogramming the debate, he reminded. “If I take second place and raise $6M for vets – I’ll do that all day long.”
Later, he added he would “never give that up to go between first and second in Iowa,” shaming reporters who suggested otherwise.
As he’d done earlier today on Twitter, Trump bashed reporters in the room for declaring his Iowa finish a loss while heralding Rubio’s third-place finish as a major win.
“He’s a good guy, but he came in third and you made it sound like he had a victory but I didn’t – and I came in second!” Trump complained. “Marco is more than 2,000 votes behind me, and you say he’s surging,” he added later.
“I did a good job and I came in second and spent a lot less than anybody else,” he also said, adding that had he known he’d be so-well liked in Iowa, “I would have spent more time there and won it.”
Trump also blamed Iowa voters for not appreciating how he’s funding his campaign.
“I don’t know that it’s appreciated by the voters. I’m the only one, on both sides, putting up my own money. … They like it, but I don’t think it’s something they vote for, which is shame because it’s actually a very big thing. … It’s a real positive. I just don’t know whether voters appreciate it.”
That expression of disappointment may explain this morning’s Trump tweet that had TV news talking heads scratching their heads:
Political pundits had noted with some alarm this morning that Trump had gone Twitter silent after his surprisingly gracious/humble-ish concession speech in Iowa, where he “lost” [snagged one less delegate] to Ted Cruz.
Late this morning, Eastern time, however, he got back to work:
And, after warming to his subject, he got back to his favorite sport – media bashing:
And, of course, this: