RedState Editor Says Trump's Comments 'Just Rude'
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Donald Trump has never shied away from controversy. Some would say he's gone out of his way to court it. This morning, he's right in the middle of a fresh bout, all of his own making. Last night, Trump made some comments which listeners may find offensive about the Fox host Megyn Kelly. Those comments got him disinvited from this week's Republican event in Atlanta hosted by the blog site RedState. We'll play that clip for you in just a moment, but first, here to speak with us now is the RedState editor-in-chief Erick Erickson. Good morning, Erick.
ERICK ERICKSON: Good morning.
WERTHEIMER: So first, let's just play that clip - what - and what hear what Donald Trump said on the cable show "CNN Tonight."
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "CNN TONIGHT")
DONALD TRUMP: She gets out, and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. And, you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes - blood coming out of her wherever.
WERTHEIMER: So, Mr. Erickson, what's been the reaction at your event to your decision to disinvite the Donald?
ERICKSON: I got a standing ovation from a crowd, many of whom had been Donald Trump supporters before the first debate the other night. That actually surprised me. I was afraid of all - having some anger, and there was. As I was going into the ballroom to tell people I disinvited him, some had already heard. And they were very angry with me, but they didn't know what he had said. And when I explained to them what he had said and then played the extended clip from CNN - so it wasn't just a snippet, but they got the full context. They got that he didn't walk it back. They got the inflection of his voice - that they could hear it for themselves. They applauded.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) Well, now, Donald Trump commented this morning that you have, at times, said things you've had to apologize for.
ERICKSON: Oh, absolutely.
WERTHEIMER: First Lady Michelle Obama - you called her a Marxist harpy wife.
WERTHEIMER: You had to apologize to former Justice David Souter.
WERTHEIMER: I can't even repeat what you said about him.
ERICKSON: Well, you know, the difference between me and Donald Trump is I actually apologized for all of the things Donald Trump said. I mean, I'm a sinner like everyone else - said some really dumb, stupid things in my life and had to apologize for them. Donald Trump not only didn't apologize; his campaign, when I called them last night, wouldn't even acknowledge that Donald Trump had said what he said. They didn't want to acknowledge it, and then when I asked them if they would clarify, they only wanted to do a private clarification to me that he had said whatever, not wherever.
WERTHEIMER: So what is your response to him calling you a loser?
ERICKSON: I think - well, he also called me weak and pathetic.
ERICKSON: I actually think it's kind of weak and pathetic to get a tough question from a female journalist and assume she's only asking it because of hormones.
WERTHEIMER: Donald Trump, I think - you know, he says that this works for him because he is non-PC, and people are tired of PC - political correctness.
ERICKSON: I think that he confuses political correctness and common decency. It's not common decency to accuse a reporter, well, you're on a menstrual cycle because you asked him a tough question. It is not politically correct. It's just rude.
WERTHEIMER: What about the other Republican hopefuls? Give us a really quick version of what you think they ought to do.
ERICKSON: You know, I don't even need to respond. A lot of reporters are asking about that. This is a distraction for them. They should be able to share their vision and not have to answer for Donald Trump. He can answer for himself.
WERTHEIMER: Erick Erickson is editor-in-chief of the RedState blog site. He's the man who banned Donald Trump from his conservative this weekend. Thank you very much for doing this.
ERICKSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.