Donald Trump told Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” that his decision to skip the Republican debate in Iowa last week and instead hold a benefit for veterans may have worked to the advantage of his opponents.
Trump finished second to Ted Cruz, despite polls that showed the real estate mogul ahead.
“I think I would have done probably a little better in Iowa had I not, you know, gone out and wanted to do that event for the vets,” he told Sean Hannity on Tuesday night. “But, you know, I’m very happy with a second place finish in Iowa.”
Trump bowed out of Fox News/Google debate in Des Moines — the final debate before the caucuses — after objecting to co-moderator Megyn Kelly, who he contended had treated him unfairly, as well as a statement that Fox News issued as he threatened to pull out.
When Hannity asked him whether everything was now “good with Fox from your end,” Trump answered, “That’s true.”
“Some people thought the debate, you know, not doing the debate might have been a positive for perhaps my opponents,” Trump said. “But actually, I raised, as you know, $6 million for the vets by not doing the debate. So I am really happy about that.”
Trump complained about how the media has characterized the results of the Iowa caucuses, noting that Marco Rubio “came in third, and they’re saying he had this incredible evening.” Trump said that he spent the least money and had been way behind in the state.
He also called Iowa’s caucus system “much more difficult” and acknowledged that “we could have done much better with the ground game” in the state.
Trump is campaigning in New Hampshire, which holds its primary next week. Polls done before the Iowa caucuses showed him with a large lead.
“I think that the good old simple system where you walk in and you cast your vote, like we have, as an example, in New Hampshire, I think it’s better. Simpler, better, more direct.”