Donald Trump spars with Jorge Ramos during press conference: 'Go back to Univision!'

Howard Kurtz weighs in


It's the spat heard around the world.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who seems to salivate when bickering with others, on Tuesday lit up social media yet again after he and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos engaged in a sniping match over his immigration positions during an Iowa press conference.

“Sit down,” Trump said testily while Ramos was stood up to ask a question. “Go back to Univision.”

Trump’s statement appeared to be play off a phrase that been uttered at foreigners for decades: “Go back to (insert country here.)”

Ramos, the popular Spanish-language television host, spoke out of turn, peppering Trump with questions about his immigration proposal, which includes ending automatic citizenship for infants born in the United States to parents in the country illegally.

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, the journalis said, "You cannot build a 1,900-mile wall," a reference to another proposal in Trump's plan.

Moments later, Trump justified Ramos' removal, saying: "He just stands up and starts screaming. Maybe he's at fault also."

In an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" early Wednesday, Ramos said he was not expecting to be tossed from the news conference.

"Never in my life — and I've been a journalist for more than 30 years — have I been thrown out of a press conference," he said.

As to criticism that he was acting more as an advocate than a journalist, Ramos replied, "As a journalist, you have to take a stand. I think the best journalism happens when you take a stand."

Trump told NBC's "Today" show that Ramos "stood up and started ranting and raving like a madman. He was totally, absolutely out of line."

The incident happened the day after Trump resumed his feud with Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly. Trump welcomed Kelly back from 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.

That drew a response from Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who called on Trump to apologize.

The billionaire businessman has sparked intense debate within the 2016 Republican field with his immigration plan. 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, and changing that would require amending the Constitution.

During the five-minute exchange, Ramos claimed that 40 percent of people in the country illegally enter through airports, not over the Mexican border. "I don't believe that. I don't believe it," Trumpresponded.

A 2006 report by the Pew Hispanic Center found that up to 45 percent of the people in the U.S. illegally entered with legal visas but overstayed them.

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?" Trumpsaid. "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."

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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