- The Washington Times - Monday, August 3, 2015

“How would you advise a candidate to debate you onstage?” moderator Chuck Todd asked Donald Trump, during the Republican hopeful’s visit with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“Well, I think I’m a nice person. I really do,” Mr. Trump replied. “And I think that’s why my numbers always go up as you get to know me better. I think that frankly, I’d like to discuss the issues. I’m not looking to take anybody out or be nasty to anybody. And as you know, Chuck, when I made, you know, harsh statements about various people, that was always in response to their criticism of me. You know, Rick Perry, I always thought he was a nice guy. But he started hitting me hard. So I hit him harder.”

“So if they don’t attack you, you’re not going to attack them?” Mr. Todd asked.

“I think it’s highly unlikely. I really do,” came the reply.

“But if they attack you,” Mr. Todd said, and paused.

“I’ve always counterpunched. You have to counterpunch. But I’m not looking to start anything. That’s for sure,” the candidate said.

Meanwhile, the positive polls for Mr. Trump continue to accumulate, the latest from a new Rasmussen Reports survey of likely GOP voters showing him with the “biggest lead yet.” Gov. Scott Walker is in distant second with 14 percent, and Jeb Bush in third with 10 percent.

“Now it’s up to the billionaire developer to show voters that he deserves it,” the pollster says.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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