NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Sunday that his remarks about Fox News host Megyn Kelly have been misinterpreted.
As CBS2’s Diane Macedo reported, Trump is accused of implying that Kelly was menstruating during the debate Thursday night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
But making the rounds on most of the Sunday morning talk shows, the billionaire said he would never do such a thing.
“I will be phenomenal to the women,” he said in a phone interview on “Face the Nation.” “I mean, I want to help women.”
During the debate Thursday night, Kelly asked Trump about some of his past remarks about women, prompting him to remark, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.”
Trump added: “Frankly what I say — and oftentimes, it’s fun; its’ kidding; we have a good time — what I say is what I say. And honestly Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I probably could not be based on the way you’ve treated me, but I wouldn’t do that.”
Afterward, Trump lashed out at Kelly for her questions.
“She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions, and, you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” Trump said earlier.
Trump was defiant and dismissed the firestorm surrounding his rhetoric toward women, saying the “blood coming out” remark had nothing to do with menstruation.
“I just wanted to get out with the rest of the sentence, ‘Blood was pouring…’ and I was going to say nose or ears,” Trump said on “Face the Nation.”
Trump added in a separate phone interview on “Meet the Press,” “No, I apologize when I’m wrong, but I haven’t been wrong.”
He added on “This Week:” “I’ve hired women; I have thousands working for me right now. They’re doing phenomenally well.”
The one network on which Trump did not appear Sunday was Fox News. But debate moderator Kelly did respond to the flurry of controversy.
“He felt attacked? It wasn’t an attack. It was a fair question,” she said.
The fallout has cost Trump and his top political adviser at least one appearance before conservative activists. The organizers of the Saturday RedState Gathering, a high-profile meeting of conservative activists in Atlanta, decided Trump was not welcome.
“If you haven’t heard, I disinvited Donald Trump,” Erick Erickson, RedState.com editor, announced Saturday.
But some of Trump’s rivals have been struggling to respond without alienating voters.
“No,I just don’t want to be negative,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
“I’ve made a decision here with Donald Trump, you know — if I comment on everything he says, I mean, my whole campaign will be consumed by it,” said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla).
“I don’t think that’s our role. I think our role is to run for president,” said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. “It’s the voter’s role to determine who they are going to connect to.”
But others addressed Trump head-on, knowing the insults that awaited.
“The kind of rhetoric we have heard of late from Mr. Trump just is not appropriate in a presidential election,” said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
“I’m not going to be quiet,” said former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. “I’m going to call out Mr. Trump or anybody else.”
“They were completely inappropriate and offensive comments – period,” said former Hewlett-Packard chief executive officer Carly Fiorina.
Trump also called Kelly a lightweight and retweeted a comment that said she is a “bimbo.”