WATCH ABOVE: Univision reporter thrown out of Donald Trump press conference. Craig Boswell has more.
DUBUQUE, Iowa – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has opened up a new media feud, taking on another popular TV news personality even as his appearances continue to draw big ratings.
Trump engaged in a prolonged confrontation Tuesday with Jorge Ramos, the Miami-based anchor for Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, during a news conference in Dubuque, Iowa.
Ramos began to ask Trump about his immigration proposal, which includes ending automatic citizenship for infants born in the United States to parents in the country illegally.
Trump interrupted him, saying he hadn’t called on Ramos before repeatedly telling him to “sit down” and then saying, “Go back to Univision.”
As one of Trump’s security detail approached Ramos, the anchor continued to speak, saying: “You cannot deport 11 million people.” Ramos was referring to Trump’s proposal to deport all people in the country illegally before allowing some of them to return.
As he was taken from the room, Ramos said, “You cannot build a 1,900-mile (3,000 kilometres) wall,” another proposal in Trump’s plan.
Moments later, Trump defended Ramos’ removal, saying: “He just stands up and starts screaming. Maybe he’s at fault also.”
The Incident happened the day after Trump resumed his feud with Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly. Trump noted Kelly’s return a vacation Monday night by tweeting that he liked her show better while she was away. He said Kelly “must have had a terrible vacation” because “she’s really off her game,” and retweeted a message that referred to her as a bimbo.
Fox News chief Roger Ailes called on Trump to apologize.
The billionaire businessman’s immigration proposal has sparked intense debate within the 2016 Republican field. Several candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have called it “unrealistic.”
Ramos was later allowed back into Tuesday’s news conference. Trump greeted him politely, though they quickly resumed their argument, interrupting each other during an extended back-and-forth.
“Your immigration plan, it is full of empty promises,” Ramos began. “You cannot deny citizenship to children born in this country.”
“Why do you say that?” Trump replied. “Some of the great legal scholars agree that’s not true.”
Citizenship for infants born in the United States is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Changing that would require amending the Constitution, a cumbersome process in which change must be approved by Congress and then by two-thirds of the 50 state legislatures.
During the five-minute exchange, Ramos claimed that 40 per cent of people in the country illegally enter through airports, not over the Mexican border. “I don’t believe that. I don’t believe it,” Trump responded.
A 2006 report by the Pew Hispanic Center found that up to 45 per cent of the people illegally in the U.S. entered with legal visas which since have expired.
Trump said he did not believe that a majority of immigrants in the U.S. illegally were criminals, or in the country to commit crimes. “Most of them are good people,” he said. But he described recent cases where people had been killed by assailants later determined to be in the country illegally.
Finally, Trump reminded Ramos that he was suing Univision, which dropped Trump’s Miss Universe pageant after he described Mexican immigrants in the U.S. illegally as “criminals” and “rapists.”
“Do you know how many Latinos work for me? Do you know how many Hispanics work for me?” Trump said. “Thousands. They love me.”
Isaac Lee, chief executive officer of Univision, responded to the confrontation with a written comment: “We’d love for Mr. Trump to sit down for an in-depth interview with Jorge to talk about the specifics of his proposals.”
AP Television Writers David Bauder in New York and Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.