CLEVELAND, Ohio — Billionaire businessman and 2016 GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is ready to rumble with his debate moderators and fellow GOP candidates if things get rough in Cleveland, Ohio, at the first debate moderated by the Fox News Channel on Thursday night.
“I hope we can keep it on a high level,” Trump said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday afternoon. “If that doesn’t happen, I’m willing to go to the other route. But I will say the two people who hit me really hard both went down in the polls.”
Moderators and the other candidates alike may want to be careful if they try to gang up on Trump, as has been suggested they might. If they do, it could severely backfire in their faces.
Trump noted that everyone who has attacked him from the Republican field—former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker,and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in particular—have all seen drops in the polls as a result of doing so. Trump singled out both Perry and Graham—both of whom probably won’t be in Thursday night’s debate after they failed in their criticisms of Trump—to note that he is “greatly honored” they have gone down in polls for attacking him.
“And I find that really interesting,and I find it a great honor that that would happen, because in all fairness Lindsey Graham and Perry were really hitting me hard, and they went down in the polls. I am greatly honored by that,” Trump said.
“Isn’t it an amazing phenomenon? You know what I said today? Lindsey Graham was at 3 and nobody went after me harder than Perry and Lindsey Graham. Perry was at 4 or 5, and he dropped down to 2 and Lindsey Graham dropped down to 0. I said that is the greatest honor. They attack me and they go down,” Trump added. “I was surprised, to be honest with you. What do you think of the polls? Are you in a state of shock?”
On the debate in general, Trump said he’s pumped up.
“I look forward to it. It will be very exciting,” Trump said. “I’m looking to treat everybody with great respect which they deserve. I hope we can talk about the issues.”
Trump said he wants to defund Planned Parenthood—and will support escalating to the level of a government shutdown if necessary—because he thinks the Republicans need to show some backbone in fighting against the president.
“Well I think that it’s something that is very important. It is something that the government should not be funding,” Trump said when asked about his push to defund Planned Parenthood. “I felt very strongly on Obamacare, I feel very strongly on this—you have to take strong action. If the Republicans would actually stick together, lots of very positive things will happen.”
When asked about the New Hampshire forum of Republican candidates on Monday evening in Manchester, Trump—who didn’t attend since he previously said he doesn’t think the newspaper sponsoring it, the Manchester Union Leader, would be endorsing him for president—told Breitbart News he thought it was a “disaster.”
“I heard that forum was a disaster,” Trump said, referencing poor performances from Perry, Bush, and many other candidates there.
He was, however, excited his presence was still in the room with the issue of immigration.
“I brought it to the forefront,” Trump said of the issue of immigration. “If I didn’t bring up immigration, it wouldn’t be discussed by anybody, and now it’s one of the biggest topics of discussion. So, I’m very honored by that, and people that were totally against me the first week are now apologizing to me and giving me great credit for having correctly brought up illegal immigration.”
On the issue of immigration, Trump reiterated to Breitbart News that he’s not backing down. If he’s elected president of the United States, Trump will build a wall on the border with Mexico—and he’ll make Mexico pay for it.
“I want to strengthen the border, I want to build a wall where necessary, Mexico will pay for the wall because they make so much money off of the United States,” Trump said. “I want to build a wall and strengthen the border,and I want to get the really bad ones out. We have a lot of really very bad out of the 11 million, and immediately we are going to get them out.”
Illegal aliens, Trump said, are taking jobs away from American citizens—and it’s not fair to the millions of Americans who are hard-pressed to find good-paying full time employment.
“They’re taking jobs, and tremendous problems are being caused by illegal immigration—and that includes the fact that jobs are being taken from citizens of the country,” Trump said. “We need to be very firm on illegal immigration.”