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article imageTrump's sexist remark turns Republican party against him

By Becca Milfeld (AFP)     Aug 8, 2015 in World

Donald Trump was scratched from a Republican Party event Saturday after suggesting that a presidential debate moderator was tough on him because she was menstruating.

The off-handed comment unleashed a new storm of criticism against Trump as he seeks the party's nomination for next year's election and leads in the polls.

Meanwhile, US media reported that Trump's top advisor had left his campaign, with both sides giving different accounts as to whether he was fired or quit.

The departure comes amid furious damage control, as Trump seeks to nuance his latest headline-grabbing remark.

The bombastic billionaire came under fire from his party after a particularly crude accusation that Fox News' Megyn Kelly, one of the moderators at Thursday's Republican presidential debate, had singled him out with rough treatment.

Trump had already called out the station's moderators for asking "unfair" questions after Kelly brought up his use of derogatory language towards women in Twitter posts. Kelly asked him if this was befitting a man vying to be the US president.

But he turned up the tone Friday evening when he told CNN that Kelly "is just somebody I didn't have a lot of respect for."

"You can see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever," he continued.

By Saturday, Trump's invitation to a prominent grassroots Republican event in Atlanta -- RedState Gathering -- had been rescinded.

An August 6  2015 photo shows prime time Republican presidential primary debate moderator Megyn Kell...
An August 6, 2015 photo shows prime time Republican presidential primary debate moderator Megyn Kelly (C) flanked by fellow moderators Chris Wallace (L) and Bret Baier (R) moments before the candidates arrived on stage in Cleveland, Ohio
Mandel Ngan, AFP/File

"As much as I do personally like Donald Trump, his comment about Megyn Kelly on CNN is a bridge too far for me," said conservative pundit Erick Erickson, who is hosting the RedState activist event. Trump was to have spoken at it.

In America, states that generally vote Republican are commonly referred to as "red states."

"His comment was inappropriate. It is unfortunate to have to disinvite him," Erickson continued, adding that he would invite Kelly in Trump's place.

Carly Fiorina, the only female Republican presidential candidate, tweeted: "Mr. Trump: There. Is. No. Excuse."

She later added "I stand with @megynkelly."

Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker followed suit, tweeting: "I agree with @CarlyFiorina, there's no excuse for Trump's comments. Stand with @MegynKelly."

Speaking at the RedState Gathering itself, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said the comments were a reflection on Trump, not the party, Politico reported.

"I hope he apologizes because I think he should," Huckabee said separately to CNN.

- 'Politically correct fools' -

Trump meanwhile backtracked from the comment about Kelly, stating that he was not referring to the body part most people had in mind from his remark on blood.

"Re Megyn Kelly quote: 'you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever' (NOSE). Just got on w/thought," Trump tweeted.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump (C) listens during the prime time Republican presidenti...
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump (C) listens during the prime time Republican presidential primary debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio
Mandel Ngan, AFP/File

"So many 'politically correct' fools in our country. We have to all get back to work and stop wasting time and energy on nonsense!" he also tweeted.

A statement from the Trump campaign widely cited by US media insisted that Trump was referring to Kelly's nose, and that "only a deviant would think anything else."

The statement also called Erickson "a total loser."

Apparently as part of the spin doctoring effort, Trump is now scheduled to appear Sunday on ABC television on one of the top US current events programs, "This Week."

The triage comes even as Trump's campaign said Saturday it had canned its top political advisor, Roger Stone.

"Roger wanted to use the campaign for his own personal publicity... and Mr Trump wants to keep the focus of the campaign on how to Make America Great Again," a campaign spokesperson told CNN.

Stone, however, told the station that he quit, and showed a resignation letter he said he gave Trump stating that, "the current controversies involving personalities and provocative media fights have reached such a high volume that it has distracted attention from your platform and overwhelmed your core message."

- High viewership -

A staggering 24 million viewers tuned in to Fox News to watch the debate, and Trump was clearly a main factor.

In a brutal tweet Friday he let the broadcaster know it.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attends an event at the New York University Leonar...
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attends an event at the New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business on July 24, 2015
Kena Betancur, AFP/File

"@FoxNews you should be ashamed of yourself. I got you the highest debate ratings in your history & you say nothing but bad," Trump tweeted to his 3.5 million followers.

The Republicans have said they plan to host eight more debates as the party whittles down its broad field and determines its flagbearer to go against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

In the meantime, Trump is sitting out the RedState summit, which includes appearances by Republican presidential hopefuls Fiorina, Huckabee, Walker, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush.

".@redstate I miss you all, and thanks for all of your support. Political correctness is killing our country," Trump tweeted.

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