Donald Trump has a message he’d like to give Fox News political pollster Frank Luntz: You’re fired.
Fresh off his confrontation with Fox News superstar Megyn Kelly, Donald Trump is now lashing out at Luntz and calling on Fox News to fire him from overseeing its post-debate focus groups.
The participants in Luntz’s focus group bashed the real-estate mogul’s performance during the Fox News Republican presidential debate on Aug. 6, calling Trump “mean” and “bombastic.” Trump was quick to criticize the focus group, calling Luntz a “clown” and a “low class slob” on Twitter.
It has now come to light that prior to the debate, Luntz allegedly told attendees at a South Carolina fundraiser that Trump is “addicted” to attention and could hurt the Republican Party, according to Politico.
The presidential hopeful hit back hard at Luntz this week, after learning of the pollster’s private comments and his latest characterization of his White House campaigning as short on the solution side.
Luntz, in a profanity-laden interview with Politico, said both Trump and the Democratic Party’s Bernie Sanders were “delivering a big ‘F––– you’ to the elites in America.”
Luntz’s tirade went on: “And that resonates on both sides. But ‘F––– you’ doesn’t solve anything. ‘F––– you’ doesn’t make life any better. ‘F––– you’ makes you feel good, but it doesn’t get you where you need to go. ‘F––– you’ doesn’t make American strong. ‘F––– you’ doesn’t solve anything.”
Trump issued a stinging response, saying Luntz was acting on a grudge – that he was only angry because Trump refused to do business with his polling firm on a previous occasion.
“I caught him cold,” Trump said to Politico. “And frankly, if I was [Fox News CEO] Roger Ailes, I’d fire that guy so fast for what he did that his head would spin.”
This latest chapter in a series of Trump vs. Luntz moments, was touched off when Luntz was asked by Politico about the private comments that seem to call into question his objectivity as the man who facilitates the focus groups that appear on Fox News.
Luntz told Business Insider he doesn’t harbor any negative feelings against Trump and is only interested in accurately assessing the presidential race.
But some sources told Politico that in the lead-up to the Fox News debates, Luntz actually held a closed-door session to discuss with major donors the pitfalls of a Trump presidency, and concluded the businessman was “turning what we believe [in principles] into a joke,” the news organization reported.
The sources also said Luntz said at that same gathering, which was held just before he was due to run the post-debate focus group, Trump was “addicted” to the spotlight, Politico reported.
Three days after the session, Fox News hosted the presidential debate, and the focus group roundly panned Trump’s performance as “angry,” “repulsive” and “bombastic.”
Luntz, asked about his private remarks about Trump, said: “[People] hear half of the comments or they hear what they want to hear and they get it wrong,” Politico reported.
He also said to the news outlet: “There’s something happening out there that is profound, but you gotta be careful. When you tap into it you better have a way to direct it. Trump has tapped into it. Bernie Sanders has tapped into it and they’re doing well, but you’re tapping into fire. That’s how hot the anger is. We are in a dangerous political environment that requires a higher standard for the candidates running. It requires them not just to stoke the anger, it’s already there. It requires them to provide the balm of solutions.”