In his first news conference since placing second in the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump admitted Tuesday that the finish might have resulted from him skipping last week’s Republican presidential but that “I would have done it exactly the same way.”
“That could have been with the debate,” the front-runner told reporters in Milford, N.H. “I think it could have been the debate.
“Some people were disappointed that I didn’t go in the debate,” he said. “It could have been the debate — maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.”
Trump bypassed the debate in Des Moines last Thursday and instead held a fund-raising rally in the city for veteran’s organization. The event raised $6 million, he said.
“It may have been the debate that set records if I did it, so I would have liked that,” Trump added. “The fact is, I would have done it exactly the same way.
“I raised $6 million for the vets. I would never, ever give that up to go between first and second in Iowa. Wouldn’t be worth it.”
Trump was later endorsed by former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who said that the developer was “the one person who has the independence and can be the change agent to actually get Washington working again.”
In responses to other questions, Trump said that:
-He didn’t expect to place as well as he did in Iowa: “I think that we did very well. I didn’t expect to do so well.”
-Polls showing him ahead may have kept voters from the caucuses: “I guess what did happen was one poll came out that showed we were four or five points ahead. That maybe built up a false expectation for some people.”
-Ted Cruz, who won the caucus, did not run a fair campaign: “When he did the voter violation form, I thought it was terrible. When they said that Ben Carson was out of the race, and come vote for him, I thought that was terrible.”
-Media reports erred in lauding Marco Rubio’s finish: “Marco, good guy, but he came in third. They made it sound like he had a victory but I didn’t. I came in second.”
-Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is being “protected by the Democrats”: “Her e-mail situation is very serious. What she’s done is against the law. Not just against rules, it’s against the law. I just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
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