Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally earlier this month. (Photo: Kiichiro Sato/AP)
Donald Trump appeared to stumble in an interview with a popular Wisconsin radio host who informed the Republican frontrunner that he’d vote for anyone other than Trump for president.
“Before you called into my show, did you know that I’m a #NeverTrump guy?” Charlie Sykes asked Trump near the end of the heated 17-minute exchange on Monday.
“No, I didn’t know that,” Trump replied.
Sykes tried to get Trump to apologize to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz, for retweeting an unflattering picture of her alongside one of his wife, Melania Trump, a former model.
“I expect that from a 12-year-old bully on the playground, not somebody who wants the office held by Abraham Lincoln,” Sykes told the brash real estate mogul.
The spat between the GOP hopefuls over their wives began when an anti-Trump super-PAC supporting the Cruz campaign aired an ad that included an image of a scantily clad Melania Trump from a 2000 magazine shoot for British GQ.
In response, Trump threatened to “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz on Twitter, leading to the aforementioned retweet.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
“I didn’t even know it was necessarily a very bad picture of her versus Melania,” Trump told Sykes, adding that he would not apologize unless Cruz did so first.
“He started it!” Trump protested.
“Remember, we’re not on a playground,” Sykes shot back. “We’re running for president of the United States.”
The discussion didn’t start out quite as testily. At the beginning of the interview, Sykes welcomed Trump to Wisconsin.
“I know that you realize that here in Wisconsin we value things like civility, decency and actual conservative principles,” he said.
But by the end, an exasperated Sykes told Trump he had failed to “introduce you to Wisconsin and our tradition of civility and decency by getting an apology from you for Heidi Cruz.”
Two recent polls show Trump trailing Cruz in Wisconsin ahead of the April 5 Republican primary.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who dropped his own bid for the GOP nomination last year, announced his endorsement of Cruz on Sykes’ show Tuesday morning.
“If the Trump train derails,” Sykes declared prior to the Trump interview, “it may start right here.”