Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made political history in the last week, admitting he's made two mistakes.
The second admission came Sunday in a “Fox News Sunday” interview, acknowledging he should not have called for women who have abortions to be punished. The first came in a New York Times interview when he admitted he probably should not have retweeted an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz, wife of rival Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
The admissions capped a week in which polls indicated the real estate mogul is losing his grip on his front-runner status, with ire growing among women and Hispanics. He managed to anger people on both sides of the abortion issue, was slammed by President Barack Obama over nuclear issues and his campaign manager was arrested for battery for grabbing a reporter.
On both Fox and CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Trump insisted the abortion question was a hypothetical and his answer was an old-line, conservative comeback.
“Strong conservatives would have said it was an appropriate answer,” Trump said. Asked if he made a mistake in calling for punishment for women, Trump said he had “corrected it. … I would have rather answered in a different manner.”
Trump said the laws on abortion “are set now … and that’s how they are going to remain until they are changed.” Asked if he sees abortion as murder, Trump sidestepped: “I have my opinions but I’d rather not — I don’t disagree with it.”
In the New York Times interview, Trump said, “Yeah, it was a mistake. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have sent it,” in reference to the Heidi Cruz tweet. But again, he insisted it was in response to what Ted Cruz wrote on a digital ad showing Trump’s wife Melania in a provocative pose from a 2000 British GQ photo shoot, suggesting she is not first lady material. Cruz has denied any involvement in the ad.
Trump decried the way delegates are being apportioned by the Republican Party, citing Louisiana in particular, where Trump won the popular vote but Cruz was awarded more delegates. Trump refused to rule out a third-party candidacy, saying it will depend on how he is treated at the convention in July.
In a separate interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus floated the idea of eliminating the eight-state rule at the GOP convention, which would prevent a candidate who hadn’t won eight primaries or caucuses from being on the convention ballot. The rule change would open the way for more candidates to surface, should Trump or Cruz not arrive with the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.
“I want to support the party,” Trump said. “If Ted or somebody doesn’t want to support me, that’s okay. I will tell you when we meet at the convention [whether he will support the nominee]. I signed the pledge. I’m the one who’s being discriminated against.”
On the incident involving campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Trump said he has no intention of apologizing to former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, who accused Lewandowski of assaulting her. Lewandowski was arrested for battery.
“Easiest thing for me to do is destroy that man’s life,” Trump said on Fox. On CBS he added, “I don’t think I can destroy a man’s life by what I saw on that video.”
Trump admitted he’s still learning when it comes to foreign policy issues, but his advisers are impressed with what he already knows.
“I have a feel for it,” said Trump, adding he’s looking at issues like NATO and nuclear weapons support in part from a financial perspective. “It’s costing us a fortune.”