Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump failed to win over Chris Cuomo when the skeptical CNN anchor pressed him on Thursday for mocking rival Carly Fiorina’s face.
“Why do you talk about how women look so much? You know it’s not presidential,” Cuomo told Trump.
In a Rolling Stone magazine profile of Trump published the day before, the Republican real-estate mogul tore into Fiorina.
“Look at that face! … Would anyone vote for that?” Trump was quoted asking while watching Fiorina on the news. “I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not [supposed to] say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
But Trump told Cuomo that he was not questioning Fiorina’s looks.
“I’m not talking look. I’m talking persona,” he said.
Cuomo was incredulous.
“You said, ‘Look at that face!'” the anchor recalled.
Trump responded by going after Fiorina’s business record when she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
“I’ll say some nice things about you at least so that they’ll say, ‘At least he says nice things about some people,'” Trump told Cuomo. “The fact is that Carly Fiorina has had a terrible past. She was fired viciously from Hewlett-Packard.”
Trump added: “Thousands of jobs gone. Stock prices gone. Still hasn’t recovered. It’s a total disaster but still hasn’t recovered. They’re trying hard, but she was a disastrous CEO. She had a company before that called Lucent, which in my opinion and in my memory, was even a worse catastrophe than Hewlett-Packard.”
But Cuomo maintained that Trump’s inclination to attack his opponents was “unpresidential.”
Cuomo noted that Trump has also gone after actress-comedian Rosie O’Donnell and Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who, during the first GOP debate, famously accused Trump of a pattern of disparaging comments towards women. He called Trump’s Fiorina insult a “there-he-goes-again moment.”
Earlier in the CNN interview, Trump also blasted former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, No. 2. in GOP primary polls, on a wide range of issues, including his faith, medical record, qualifications for office, and overall energy. That was all in response to Carson taking a jab at Trump’s faith and humility on Wednesday.
“All I’m saying is that you are the front-runner,” Cuomo told Trump. “You say that you’re going to be president of the United States. There is a manner of behavior that goes with that. I’m not saying be ‘Mr. P.C.’ I’m not saying be ‘Captain Gentility’ and let everybody beat you up. But the idea of returning a blow every time you receive one – you know that doesn’t work in any high-level situation.”
Trump responded with a backhanded compliment to the viewership of Cuomo’s “New Day” show on CNN.
“Well I’m a believer. Perhaps you’re not. Maybe that’s why your show isn’t doing as well as it should be, because you really have a better show than them,” he said.
“That’s not nice,” Cuomo replied. “That’s not nice. You’re attacking me for asking you a question. See, that’s my point. That’s not what the president does.”
Watch the CNN segment below: