And with the Wisconsin primary just two days away, the Republican frontrunner tried to turn the page in a pair of interviews that aired on Sunday.
On “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Trump if he was self-imploding.
“This may sound harsh,” Wallace said, “but are you in the process of blowing your campaign for president?”
“I don’t think so,” Trump replied. “All I can do is do what I do. … I think I’m doing very well. Was this my best week? I guess not.”
“I don’t know that it’s been the worst week of my campaign,” he said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” “I think I’ve had many bad weeks and I’ve had many good weeks. I don’t see this as the worst week in my campaign.”
It began on Monday, when Trump was scolded by a popular Wisconsin radio host, who told him, “Remember, we’re not on a playground — we’re running for president of the United States.”
It continued Tuesday, when Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with assaulting a female reporter after surveillance video showed Lewandowski grabbing the reporter, Michelle Fields — someone Lewandowski had said he “never touched.” But instead of firing Lewandowski, Trump attacked his accuser hours later during a CNN town hall meeting.
“She’s not a baby,” Trump insisted. “She was grabbing me. Am I supposed to press charges against her?”
During the same town hall meeting, the real estate mogul shocked foreign policy observers by suggesting that Japan, South Korea or even Saudi Arabia may need to develop their own nuclear weapons because “it’s going to happen anyway.” (Trump doubled down on those comments Saturday, saying he’d rather not see Japan and North Korea go to war, “but if they do, they do.”)
The missteps continued Wednesday, as Trump sparked a firestorm of criticism during an MSNBC town hall when he asserted that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have illegal abortions.
The brash billionaire later walked back his comments, first saying that the abortion issue should be decided by the states and then falling in line with anti-abortion groups that say doctors who perform illegal abortions should be punished, not women.
Trump speaks with “Face The Nation” host John Dickerson at Trump Tower in New York on Friday. (Photo: John Paul Filo/CBS via AP)
During Trump’s “Face The Nation” interview,which was conducted Friday, the real estate mogul sought to clarify his stance on abortion.
“The laws are set now on abortion, and that’s the way they’re going to remain until they’re changed,” Trump said. “I think it would’ve been better if it were up to the states. But right now, the laws are set … and I think we have to leave it that way.”
The unsteady response led to yet another unsolicited statement of clarification from the Trump campaign.
“Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must stay that way now — until he is president,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said. “Then he will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn. There is nothing new or different here.”
But “Face The Nation” host John Dickerson pressed Trump on the abortion issue.
“I have my opinions on it, but I’d rather not comment on it,” Trump replied.
“You said you were very pro-life,” Dickerson said. “Pro-life means that abortion is murder.”
“I mean, I do have my opinions on it. I just don’t think it’s an appropriate forum.”
“But you don’t disagree with that proposition, that it’s murder?” Dickerson asked.
“No, I don’t disagree with it,” Trump replied.
On “Fox News Sunday,” the GOP hopeful argued that the media has declared it the “beginning of the end” for his campaign before.
“I’ve had that statement made many a time — ‘Oh, he just blew his campaign’ — only to have higher poll numbers,” he said.
But his comments come two days ahead of the next contest in the Republican primary: Wisconsin, where polls show Trump trailing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by 10 points.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus was asked if he believes Trump is the strongest candidate for the party.
“I don’t know,” Priebus said.