Billionaire businessman and Republican candidate Donald Trump took the stage Wednesday night for a one-hour town hall event in Charleston, South Carolina, just days before Saturday's GOP primary in the state. The town hall, hosted by MSNBC, directly competed with CNN’s town hall featuring three of Trump’s GOP rivals -- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
Trump himself is scheduled to appear on CNN on Thursday night, in a town hall event with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
On Wednesday, MSNBC “Morning Joe” hosts Mika Brzezinski and John Scarborough, along with South Carolina voters, grilled Trump on a wide-ranging variety of topics, including his position on national security, trade agreements, the Israel-Palestine conflict and his opinions on the other presidential candidates. In response to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released earlier Wednesday that found Texas Sen. Ted Cruz ahead of the real estate mogul, Trump fought back.
"I have never done well in the Wall Street Journal poll. I think somebody at the Wall Street Journal doesn't like me," Trump said.
The candidate said he has the ability to win in crossover states, and said he thinks he will win in a slew of big states, including New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 18, 2016
“I will have more crossover votes than anybody that has run for office,” Trump said.
The “Morning Joe” hosts asked the GOP candidate to weigh in on an ongoing technology and national security debate regarding Apple’s refusal to help the FBI break into one of the San Bernardino, California, shooter’s iPhones, in which Trump echoed a similar position he had staked out earlier Wednesday, calling Apple’s refusal to help “disgraceful.” The Republican candidate also slammed President Barack Obama and the work he has done for the African-American community economically.
“You see nothing but problems. Barack Obama has done nothing, absolutely nothing, in my opinion, economically, for African-Americans, especially youth,” Trump said. “We’re going to bring back our jobs, we’re bringing them back from China, we’re bringing them back from all over Asia. We’re going to bring them back from Mexico.”
The real estate mogul’s political civility was questioned, and when asked whether he has the temperament to be president, Trump appeared confident.
“In a year from now, people will respect what I did,” Trump said.