The news conference battle between Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump and Univision's Jorge Ramos marks the second time a Spanish-language TV reporter's questions have been short-circuited by the 2016 candidate. The first time, Trump did call on the TV news anchor for a question.
On Wednesday, Trump defended tossing Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from his news conference, saying he was not called on to ask a question yet.
"He was totally out of line last night. I was asking and being asked a question from another reporter. I would have gotten to him very quickly and he stoop up and started ranting and raving like a madman and frankly, he was out of line. Most people, in fact most newspaper reports said I handled it very well. He was totally, absolutely out of line," Trump said on NBC's Today in an interview with Matt Lauer.
But at a news conference last month in Laredo, Texas, Telemundo/MSNBC anchor Jose Diaz-Balart found he couldn't get a question in either, even though he waited to be called on by Trump.
Trump had just finished telling a news conference there about his great relationship with Hispanics. Diaz-Balart was in the middle of laying the ground for his question when Trump cut him off with criticism of the media's reporting on what he says.
Diaz-Balart asked whether he could finish the question, to which Trump said, "No, no. You're finished," to cheers from his supporters.
There was not as much of a stink over his treatment of Diaz-Balart, but Trump's dealing with Diaz-Balart also drew some social media discussion. As he did with Ramos, Trump mentioned that he is suing Univision for $500 million for its decision to drop Miss Universe coverage after Trump said in his presidential bid declaration that Mexico was sending Mexicans across the border who are criminals, rapists and drug couriers.
Trump had done a one-on-one interview with Diaz-Balart in June.
The latest blowup comes as conservative groups have been pressuring Spanish-langauge media to cover more of their viewpoint and include them more in programming and coverage.
In the same way Trump found support for cutting off Diaz-Balart and chastising him, he also found support outside his news conference Tuesday from a supporter who badgered Ramos once he was escorted out by security, as shown in video that has been posted on social media:
Trump also has been in a feud with Fox News over anchor Megyn Kelly, over her having asked him tough questions in the network's Republican debate. Recently, he retweeted a tweet calling Kelly a "bimbo." Fox News Chief Roger Ailes has said Trump should apologize to Kelly.
While the Republican presidential hopeful told Ramos, "Sit down!" and "Go back to Univision!" during the exchange, some in the media were criticizing Ramos for the clash with Trump, even questioning whether it was a stunt. On MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough said Ramos delivered a speech rather than ask a question of Trump.
"If he had actually asked a question up front, we wouldn't be talking about him today and of course he wouldn't want that. He wants to make it about him," Scarborough said.
Univision's Isaac Lee, president of news and digital for Univision Communications Inc. defended Ramos.
"When the microphone was passed to him at Mr. Trump's press conference, Jorge Ramos attempted to ask a question. Before Mr. Ramos could state his question, Mr. Trump ordered him to be silent and then ordered his security t remove Mr. Ramos from the premises," Lee said in a statement.
"Traditionally, American presidential candidates have never tried to interfere with robust press coverage of their candidacies. Univision News will continue its efforts to bring its audience the fullest and most informative coverage possible of Mr. Trump's candidacy," Lee said.
Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog, pointed out that of the 17 conservative candidates, just two have done long interviews with Telemundo or Univision and pointed to other times conservatives have criticized Latino media and its viewers, such as when conservative commentator Ben Ferguson said it was unlikely Univision and Jorge Ramos viewers would understand the words coming from Donald Trump's mouth.