On Monday morning, Donald Trump became the second presidential candidate to take place in a town hall presented by NBC’s Today show.
The Republican frontrunner fielded questions from Matt Lauer and roughly 125 voters, including Trump supporters and those who are still undecided, at the Atkinson Resort and Country Club in Atkinson, New Hampshire.
During the nearly hour-long event, Trump repeated much of his campaign rhetoric about illegal immigration, offering specific examples about crime and incidences of rape he blames illegal immigration for and talking about his plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico; support for women; and going after ISIS.
On that last issue, when Lauer asked the audience to applaud if they wanted large numbers of U.S. troops to go into Iraq and fight ISIS, no one responded and then there was some weak applause when prompted.
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Trump also repeatedly insisted that he’s “a nice person” when asked about his tendency to use harsh language to refer to other people, including his opponents.
However, he didn’t have such nice things to say about the media. Before the town hall even began, Trump spoke to a group of 1,200 people, in which he said of the media, 30 percent are good and 50 percent are the worst people he’s ever met. Lauer asked Trump which category he falls into and Trump says Lauer has always been good to him and treated him fairly.
The presidential candidate also trashed Iowa’s Des Moines Register, which showed him polling lower than Ben Carson in the state.
“The Des Moines Register is a terrible paper as far as I’m concerned,” Trump said. “Very liberal paper by the way.”
Speaking of Iowa, Trump also elaborated on his recent Twitter snafu in which his account retweeted a question about whether Carson is leading in the polls in Iowa because “Too much Monsanto in the corn creates issues in the brain.” Trump tweeted that an intern “accidentally” sent that out, but now reports are saying that interns don’t have access to Trump’s account.
Trump explained on Today that while he does “90 percent” of his own tweeting, he has five other “very smart people” who tweet for him when he’s not able to do so himself.
“It was actually a little bit of a joke, the person thought it was funny. Essentially anybody who votes for Carson has to have a problem with their brain — that’s what they said. They thought it was cute. I didn’t think it was cute. I took it off,” Trump said. “It wasn’t a big deal. Frankly I probably would have been better off just leaving it there but I didn’t like it…I actually probably should have left it up nobody would have cared about it.”
Trump also took questions from users on social media, one of whom asked the real-estate mogul if he’s ever eaten at McDonald’s, worn blue jeans and driven a car. Trump revealed that he ate food from McDonald’s the night before and has worn blue jeans and he drives himself often, including last week.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton was the first presidential candidate to take part in Today‘s town hall during this election cycle, fielding questions from Savannah Guthrie and New Hampshire voters earlier this month.
Trump was also asked what he would get Hillary Clinton for her birthday, which is also on Monday, and he said he wishes her “Happy birthday and lots of love” but stressed that the two of them are going to have a tough battle.
Earlier, despite his insistence that he’s nice, Trump said that the current election will be based on “competence” and claimed that the U.S. is currently being run by “stupid people.” Lauer asked Trump, with his penchant for calling his opponents “stupid” and using other derogatory terms including about people’s appearance, whether he’s setting the right example for kids dealing with online bullying.
“I hope I am,” Trump said, “I’m a leader. Every poll said that I’m the best leader by far of every candidate.”