Donald Trump & The GOP Debate Moderators Have Clashed In The Past (Because It's Trump, Duh)
The second GOP presidential debate will feature moderators Jake Tapper, Hugh Hewitt, and Dana Bash. All three of them have interviewed Donald Trump before, and Trump has already criticized one of them. While Trump has been most explicit in his statements about Hewitt, the questions posed at Wednesday's debate might give the moderators another thing in common with one another. Trump is known to attack his critics, and the CNN debate will likely feature tough questions about his campaign.
Earlier this month, Hewitt, a conservative radio host, interviewed Trump about his presidential aspirations. Trump struggled to answer Hewitt's foreign policy questions on ISIS and Iran's Revolutionary Guard in sufficient detail — and in typical Trump fashion, his next move was to criticize Hewitt himself. The day after the interview, Trump called in to MSNBC's Morning Joe, and he told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that Hewitt was a "third-rate radio announcer." Trump went on to say that Hewitt had bombarded him with a series of "gotcha" questions intended to trip him up in his words.
Rather than return the vitriol, though, Hewitt shared positive sentiments about Trump with CNN after the interview. Hewitt gave Trump the benefit of the doubt on his confusion of Iraq's Kurdish minority and Iran's Revolutionary Guard, saying that Trump likely misheard Hewitt say "Quds" as "Kurds." Hewitt went on to tell CNN's Chris Cuomo that he loved Trump, calling him "the best interview in America."
In July, meanwhile, CNN's Dana Bash conducted a wide-ranging interview with Trump. During the interview, Trump (now infamously) criticized Elizabeth Beck, an attorney who claims Trump called her "disgusting" for pumping breast milk. In the interview with Bash, Trump called Beck a "vicious, horrible person." Trump's hatred wasn't directed at Bash herself, but the interview is one of the most-cited examples of Trump's harsh words for his detractors.
As for the upcoming Republican debate's third moderator, CNN's Jake Tapper interviewed Trump on June 28, discussing topics that included abortion, healthcare, and same-sex marriage. Tapper criticized Trump for promoting the sanctity of "traditional marriage," since Trump has been married three times. Surprisingly, rather than go into attack mode, Trump said that his failed marriages were his fault, because he was working too much. "I blame myself, because my business was so powerful for me," Trump told Tapper.
Don't expect Trump's statements to influence the three moderators' questions, though. Earlier this month, Hewitt told The Huffington Post that Trump's criticism of him won't affect the questions he'll ask the candidates during Wednesday's debate. Tapper, for his part, told CNN's Brian Stelter that at least one of the candidates will likely go on an attack against the moderators, though he declined to say it would be Trump. But given Trump's comments about Megyn Kelly, who moderated the first Republican debate on Fox News — Trump suggested that Kelly had "blood coming out of her wherever" — Wednesday's debate should be highly entertaining, to say the least.