New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accused Fox News and other media outlets of going so easy on Donald Trump that they let him get away with interviews in his “jammies.”
Trump was also being challenged by a couple of candidates to put veterans’ donations where his mouth is — hearty contributions in exchange for his debate presence tonight or Saturday.
Christie told Hannity last night that it’s incredible that the real-estate mogul would claim he’s being treated unfairly when he gets the privilege of calling into many TV shows instead of appearing on them in person as the other GOP candidates do.
“I think it’s a big mistake by Donald and I said that,” he said of Trump’s plans to skip tonight’s debate. “Things don’t always go your way. You remember, I got sent down to the undercard debate by Fox Business news. I didn’t think it was fair, but I didn’t whine and moan and complain and walk away. I went to the debate. I argued my points. That’s what a leader does. You go and you fight through adversity.”
Christie said “it shows that when he gets criticized, he can’t take it.”
“And I think that’s a shame and I don’t think as president you’re going to be able to deal with it that way,” he said. “I mean, there’s no other conclusion to come to, why else would he do this? Why is he picking on Megyn Kelly? I don’t understand – why’s he picking on Fox News? I don’t understand that. It makes no sense. This guy’s got more coverage on this network by a multiple of five or six than any of the rest of us and he says he is being treated unfairly? That’s a really thin skin, Sean.”
“Please,” Christie added. “He phones in to every darn show. None of the rest of us do that. He sits in his jammies in Trump Tower and phones in. You guys don’t let any of the rest of us do that.”
Christie told a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa, that Trump was acting like “a 13-year-old argument.”
“You don’t like the networks, stand up and fight, show up and fight. What’s that tell you about what we can expect if things go sideways when you go into the Oval Office? What are you going to do? Go upstairs to the residence and say I’m not playing? You know, Vladimir Putin isn’t being nice to me, I’m not going to return his call? The press isn’t being nice to me, I’m not going to hold anymore press conferences?” he said.
Trump told Bill O’Reilly last night that his 9 p.m. event at Drake University in Iowa will give him “much more than 60 seconds” that he’d get for debate-stage answers.
“Fox would have and still might, I hope they do, I hope they do well, I don’t really care. But, Fox is going to make a lot of money on the debate. We broke the all-time record on cable television 24 million people, and yet, in the previous cycle, you were talking about tiny fraction of that,” Trump said. “So, there’s a reason for the 24 million people. CNN, likewise, broke its all-time record with 23 million people. I just don’t like being used.”
Trump said his Iowa event tonight will raise money for veterans. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America founder Paul Rieckhoff tweeted that if offered, his group “will decline donations from Trump’s event.”
“We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts,” Rieckhoff added.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told CNN that he would support a Trump veterans fundraiser “if he weren’t using it for political purposes — which is clearly what it is.”
Early in the campaign, Trump said McCain is “a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
“The media, I think, in their desperation to have him on all the time, to increase ratings, has probably given him the confidence that he can decide to do what he calls a veterans event,” McCain said. “…I wish he were not using a veterans event as a way to further his own political agenda.”
Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) super PACs Keep the Promise I and II said $1.5 million would be donated from their coffers to veterans’ charities if Trump debates tonight.
“Not only would this be a heck of a debate, but it would also be a terrific opportunity to generate millions of dollars for the veterans,” the PACs tweeted Wednesday night. Cruz separately sent Trump a letter challenging him to an “in-person, two-hour Town Hall event” at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City this Saturday.
Carly Fiorina, who’s in the undercard debate tonight, tweeted that her campaign would also donate $1.5 million to veterans’ causes to join that hypothetical Cruz-Trump showdown in Sioux City.
“Upping the ante, I’m free tomorrow at 8pm,
@realDonaldTrump. My campaign will give $2mm to veterans’ cause to debate at Drake U.”