Angered by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman slamming his December 27 debate, billionaire Donald Trump lashed back at the two GOP presidential candidates on NBC’s Today show Monday morning.
“I think most candidates are going to join, and I think those two candidates have zero chance to be elected,” Trump said. “I think they are joke candidates. I think they are doing very poorly, and certainly Mr. Huntsman is doing extremely poorly in the polls at 1 percent. And frankly it gives more airtime to people who have a chance to be elected.”
While Huntsman’s numbers are still low, Trump’s comments on Paul being a “joke” look very hollow with Paul now surging in the Iowa polls, even edging out former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney.
This past weekend, both Paul and Huntsman announced they would slated to be moderated by Trump. The Texas congressman called it “beneath the office of the Presidency,” while Huntsman indicated he would spend the evening “watching Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich suck up to Trump with a big bowl of popcorn.”
Gingrich, who is a member Trump’s exclusive golf club in Northern Virginia, said he would attend the debate moderated by Trump, who hosts NBC reality show The Apprentice.
Trump also defended the former House Speaker when Today show co-host Matt Lauer asked him about Gingrich’s latest controversial comments on children of poor families being lazy.
“It wasn’t maybe politically correct, but it happens to be the truth,” he said. “And I think one of the reasons – he’s surging like a rocket ship – is because of the fact he says it like it is. In terms of what Newt said, that’s the way it is.”
WATCH: Video from NBC, which was broadcast on November 5, 2011.
Steve Schmidt breaks down why Joe Biden should be an ‘easy’ choice for moderate Republicans
On MSNBC Friday, former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt criticized Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) claim that she was struggling over whether to support the president — and laid out why she should unequivocally decide she doesn't.
"We saw the president direct violence against peaceful protesters this week, and seen the president lie to the country nearly 20,000 times," said Schmidt. "We've seen the president divide the country and incite violence. And we've seen a level of ineptitude in this historic pandemic that defied description, but included standing in front of the nation when tens of thousands are dead, talking about his ratings or telling the American people that it is a good idea to ingest or household disinfectants. We've seen a president preside over the shattering of an economy. We have seen a president race-bait, demean, disgrace his office, to desecrate the bonds of affection that exist between us as Americans."
‘Not appropriate at all’: GOP senator admits it was wrong to gas protesters for Trump’s photo-op
The decision to gas protesters so President Donald Trump could hold a photo-op holding a Bible were criticized by a Republican senator on Friday as cracks start to emerge in Republicans' support for the president.
"As you know, outside the White House when protesters were peacefully exercising their rights, there were rubber bullets and tear gas, they were disbursed so he could go for the pictures, the photo-op at the church," CNN's Erin Burnett reported.
She noted criticism by former General Mattis and asked Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) if he agreed.
"I would say no question the scene that I understand occurred there with the tear gas and rubber bullets was unnecessary, not appropriate at all," he replied.
‘A coward and a commander’: New Lincoln Project ad contrasts Trump with James Mattis
On Friday, the conservative anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project released a new attack ad against President Donald Trump — this time using the criticism of his former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and comparing and contrasting their leadership ability.
"This is the story of a coward and a commander," said the ad's narrator. "The coward Trump dodged the draft. Jim Mattis led American troops for forty years. While a frightened Trump hides from protesters in a deep bunker firing off tweets, Jim Mattis does what he's always done: Leads. While Donald Trump angrily attacks, General Mattis' words deserve to be heard by every American."