In an interview with Wisconsin-based talk radio host Charlie Sykes on Monday morning, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump fell apart live on-air when asked tough questions about his record on the issues and his problem with women.
Sykes asked Trump about his treatment Heidi Cruz, who he attacked last week by threatening to “spill the beans” about her. Trump’s comments came after a political group with no ties to Ted Cruz or his campaign paid for advertisements featuring magazine photos of Trump’s wife Melania. Trump followed up his threat by retweeting an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife Hedi.
“Is this your standard?” Sykes asked. “That if a supporter of another candidate, not the candidate himself, does something despicable that it’s okay for your personally –a candidate for president of the United States– to behave in that same way? I mean, I expect that from a 12-year-old bully on a playground. Not someone who wants the office held by Abraham Lincoln.”
“I did a retweet,” Trump said. “And it was art by someone else.”
“Your wife is a beautiful, classy woman, why can you not say the same about Ted Cruz’s wife?” Sykes asked.
In response, Trump explained that his decision to tweet the photo of Cruz’s wife grimacing was a very “mild” response.
“I didn’t even know it was necessarily a very bad picture of her versus [my wife] Melania,” he said.
After Trump asked that the interview be focused around policy issues instead of his Twitter timeline, Sykes hammered Trump for holding liberal positions in the past on issues like gun control, as well as campaign donations Trump made to Democratic candidates.
“Why shouldn’t conservatives here in Wisconsin think your claim to be a conservative is just a giant fraud?” Sykes asked.
“As a businessman, I never even thought about all the things you’ve talked about,” Trump said before lauding his past business successes.
“You’re not answering my question,” Sykes responded.
“I am a conservative,” Trump said. “I’m not so conservative when it comes to the pure aspects of trade… I believe in free trade, which is nice and conservative,” he said before repeating his usual talking points about being a tougher negotiator with other countries by threatening to implement costly tariffs on imported goods.
“It’ll never happen,” Trump said of a tariff. “But you have the threat out there.”
“Well you’re a much better negotiator than I am,” Sykes said. “But you just said it’ll never happen, so you’ve basically said your negotiating ploy is a bluff.”
Trump stammered and repeatedly insisted that other countries like China, India, and Mexico are “killing us.”
The Wisconsin primary is scheduled for April 5. Polls indicate that Cruz and Trump are neck and neck.
You can listen to the entire radio interview here: