- The Washington Times - Monday, March 28, 2016

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump ventured into enemy territory Monday when he called into Wisconsin talk radio host Charlie Sykes, who is spearheading the #NeverTrump campaign in the state.

Mr. Trump had to defend himself against sharp questions from Mr. Sykes about the “wives fight” with rival Ted Cruz, his reputation as a sexist and doubts about his conservatism.

The billionaire businessman stood his ground but struggled to fend off the aggressive Mr. Sykes.

“I thought this was a dead issue until I just spoke to you,” Mr. Trump said when pressed about his crude remarks about women, such as calling Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig.”

“I’m not a fan of Rosie O’Donnell. She isn’t a fan of mine,” he said. You go back and forth. I don’t think there should be a double standard if someone is a woman. But I can tell you this, Charlie, I have been better to women than any of these candidates.”

Later Mr. Trump acknowledged that he didn’t know Mr Sykes was a leader of the #NeverTrump movement in Wisconsin, which holds a primary April 5.

Mr. Sykes, who also is a supporter of Mr. Cruz, attempted to prod Mr. Trump into apologizing for tweeting an unflattering photograph of his rival’s wife, Heidi Cruz.

Mr. Trump didn’t budge. He insisting that Mr. Cruz started the fight when an anti-Trump super PAC used a provocative photograph of his super model wife, Melania Trump, in an attack ad in Utah.

“He started it,” said Mr. Trump, who insisted but can’t prove that Mr. Cruz knew in advance about the super PAC’s ad.

“Do you want some free advice,” Mr. Sykes said. “If you stand up there and you say, ‘Folks, I’m running for president. Ted Cruz is running for president. Let’s leave our wives out of it. both of us have married intelligent, beautiful women and from now on we are not going to be talking about one another’s wives. People of Wisconsin will love that, Mr. Trump.”

“Who wouldn’t agree to that. I think it’s great,” responded Mr. Trump. “Again, I didn’t start it. He started it. If he didn’t start it, it never would have happened, nothing like this would have ever happened. But he started it.”

Mr. Sykes shot back: “Just remember, we’re not on a playground. We’re running for president of the United States.”

Mr. Trump said he agreed with that “100 percent.”

“And my views are not playground views,” he added. “My views are that our country is losing on every front. We are losing militarily, we losing in trade, we’re losing in educations, we’re losing with our Second Amendment, which is being knocked in every corner and nobody is stronger on the Second Amendment. Nobody.”

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