American presidential candidate and billionaire Donald Trump has elicited a significant controversy in his recent campaign trail for the 2016 elections after making derogatory comments against ethnic minorities, and now the Republican nominee has been banned from attending a leading conservative gathering after rankling organisers with alleged anti-woman comments directed at a current affairs professional, the Associated Press news agency reports in the Christian Science Monitor website yesterday.
Trump’s name was struck off from the list of attendees to the high-profile political gathering of conservative activists after he was said have made a derogatory comment about a moderator on the conservative news TV station Fox News on last Thursday’s first Republican presidential debate. The comments drew ire from not only opponents but also Trump’s own party and the RedState Gathering, which occurred yesterday (Saturday 8th August) also condemned Trump’s utterances, before deciding not to host the philanthropist and businessman.
The RedState Gathering saw appearances by several leading members of the United States’ Republican party, one of two main parties to contest elections there, and which is famed for its highly patriotic, traditionalist and economically and socially conservative outlook. Big name attendees included the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, current governor of Wisconsin state Scott Walker, the senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, who is the brother and son of two former US presidents.
The absence of Donald Trump however threatens to overshadow and divert attention away from the topics under discussion at RedState, the Associated Press reports.
Trump was said to have ‘lashed out’ at Fox News employee Megyn Kelly for questions she posed to him in the debate. She had asked the presidential hopeful to explain himself for earlier comments he was said to have made against women and whether it reflected the “temperament of a man we should elect as president.”
Trump then later made a visit to the offices of CNN, an American non-partisan news channel, where he spoke about his encounter with Kelly in less than complimentary terms, AP reports. In the Friday night interview, Trump commented “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever”.
The comment against the Fox News presenter disgusted observers of the presidential race, with RedState’s representative Erick Erickson ordering Trump’s dismissal from the event’s roster of guest speakers. Referring to US politics and the race, Erickson commented: “I just don’t want someone on stage who gets a hostile question from a lady and his first inclination is to imply it was hormonal. It just was wrong,” Erickson wrote on the RedState website. The website gets its name from electoral maps, often shown on television and newspapers, which depict Republican-leaning states in red and Democrat-leaning ones in blue.
Erickson said that “while Mr. Trump resonates with a lot of people with his bluntness, including me to a degree, there are just real lines of decency a person running for president should not cross.”
Trump’s supporters have expressed their displeasure at the latest furore surrounding their political idol. A campaign statement from a pro-Trump source poured scorn on Erick Erickson and his decision to drop Trump and accused RedState organisers of pandering to political correctness.
“This is just another example of weakness through being politically correct. For all of the people who were looking forward to Mr. Trump coming, we will miss you. Blame Erick Erickson, your weak and pathetic leader,”
Even while the gathering was in full swing, Trump’s camp continued to wage a war of words against Erickson, as well as targeting Megyn Kelly, and said the comments made by Trump about Kelly’s blood leaking was misinterpreted. A follow-up statement insisted that Trump has in fact said “blood was coming out of her eyes and whatever”. Observers who viewed the CNN interview however rubbished the statement and said that those words were not used.
The campaign also hinted at alleged RedState activists’ collective disapproval of Erickson’s decision, claiming that 900 attendees at the gathering had made a joint complaint about what they saw as political correctness from Erickson and unnamed others. Some activists who spoke with AP journalists said that they had wanted Trump to still appear at the event to hear what he had to say. “Personally, we need to make up our own minds if someone is stupid,” said Jack Staver, a business consultant from Woodstock in Georgia state. “If someone is going to fall on their face, let them do it for everyone to see. Maybe it will help us make up our minds in a primary like this.” Another activist spoken to by AP however was glad of Trump’s eviction from the proceedings, saying that the wealthy hopeful was ‘a bit crude’ and was a poor fit for a Republican president.
Two of Trump’s rivals, former technology executive Carly Fiorina and the Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, said there was no excuse for Trump’s words about Kelly. They said they stood with the journalist.
Trump’s political bosses, the Republican National Committee, meanwhile urged the 2016 presidential candidate to clarify what he meant in the CNN interview on Friday and said it would be ‘highly inappropriate’ if Trump continued to justify his comment, the committee said.
Trump needs “to understand that he is seeking the presidency of the United States now and that words do matter,” RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told NBC’s Today show on Saturday.
“I’m hoping that Mr. Trump, because he does speak off the cuff, because he doesn’t ascribe to political correctness, was speaking in a way that wasn’t fully thought out,” Spicer said.
Trump’s latest round of derogatory comments could well put his bid for the Presidential office seat in jeopardy, by alienating a large swathe of possible supporters. Many Republicans, embarrassed by his words, have sought to minimise the negative impact on their party’s reputation by distancing themselves in public from him.