You had to know that this interview was going to go downhill quickly for bloviating billionaire and reality TV actor Donald Trump, the current GOP frontrunner, when leading Wisconsin conservative radio host Charlie Sykes began by saying that in The Badger State “we value things like civility, decency and actual conservative principles,” three items that are not Trump’s strongest traits.
Speaking of civility and decency, Sykes next threw down the gauntlet, challenging Trump to apologize for retweeting a picture of Heidi Cruz, wife of constitutional conservative Ted Cruz , that mocked her looks, a long string of misogynistic insults against women during the campaign that includes former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina (“Who would vote for that face?!”) and FOX News host Megyn Kelly (“bimbo”).
“Last week, you tweeted out a threat to spill the beans on the wife of Ted Cruz — Heidi Cruz — you followed that up by tweeting out a picture that insults her looks,” Sykes reminded Trump. “You know, wouldn’t it be a good way to start off your Wisconsin campaign by saying that wives should be off limits and that you apologize for mocking her looks?” Sykes asked the real estate tycoon.
In case you missed the exchange on Twitter, here’s how it transpired:
Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2016
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 23, 2016
Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life. https://t.co/pprXhIMzUT
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 24, 2016
Trump continued to repeatedly push the false narrative that “he [Cruz] started it,” knowingly that his useful idiot followers would repeat the lie in social media.
Trump admitted that his present wife Melania posed nearly nude for a cover of GQ Magazine, a photo that was hardly secret, and blamed Ted Cruz for knowing about the ad generated by an anti-Trump PAC not affiliated with the Cruz campaign. However, Trump refused to apologize claiming that it would be different if Cruz didn’t know about the ad in advance, which he somehow knows that he did know, without elaborating how.
Charlie Sykes then lowered the boom in a way probably no journalist has done thus far in this several month’s long presidential campaign.
“Is this your standard, that if a supporter of another candidate — not the candidate himself — does something despicable that it’s okay for you personally, a candidate for president of the United States to behave in that same way?” Sykes asked. “I mean, I expect that from a twelve-year-old bully on the playground, not somebody who wants the office held by Abraham Lincoln.”
Trump avoided the question, changing the topic to how many followers he has on social media, but did admit that the photo of Melania was an “artistic picture,” which makes you wonder why he is ashamed of having it plastered all over the internet (it was already there).
Trump then refused, when prompted by Sykes, to admit that Heidi Cruz is beautiful and classy as his wife is, stating that he didn’t know her.
Sykes pointed out that roughly 70 percent of women in Southeastern Wisconsin find him [Trump] unfavorable and played a recent ad playing clips of misogynistic past statements Trump has made about women. Sykes added that conservative women are “repelled” by his attitude.
Trump answered by bragging about his stardom while claiming that no one in the presidential race treats women as good as he does.
“Mr. Trump, before you called into my show, did you know that I’m a #NeverTrump guy?” Sykes asked.
“That I didn’t know,” Trump said.
“OK. I thought it was interesting. People were wondering, does Donald Trump know what Charlie Sykes has said about him in the past?’” Sykes said. “And I would give you credit either way on it, but I was wondering.”
“No, no, I understand,” Trump said. “But no, I didn’t know that, but I assume you’re also an intelligent guy. I know you’re an intelligent guy, and you understand what’s going on. Our country is getting ripped off left and right by every country we do business with, even in NATO.”
“Do you want some free advice?” Sykes asked. “If you stand up there and you say, ‘Folks, let me just say this. I’m running for president. Ted Cruz is running for president. Let’s leave our wives out of it. Both of us have married intelligent, beautiful women, and from now on, we are not going to be talking about one another’s wives.’ People in Wisconsin will love that, Mr. Trump.”
“Who wouldn’t agree to that? I think it’s great,” Trump said. “Again, I didn’t start it. He started it. If he didn’t start it, it would have never happened … But he started it.”
“Remember, we’re not on a playground. We’re running for President of the United States,” Sykes said.
On the issue of trade, amazingly, Sykes got Trump to admit that his earlier statement that he would impose a 45 percent tariff on China, was a complete bluff.
“It will never happen,” Trump said. “You’ve got to have a threat out there,” Trump claimed, a threat he just revealed as a phony threat.
Trump came off in this interview sounding petty, petulant and vengeful, not the type of look you want in a presidential candidate.
Kudos to Charlie Sykes for asking tough follow-up questions. His stock is on the rise. Trump’s appears to be crashing faster than Trump Mortgage in 2008.