Donald Trump proposed demanding $5 million from CNN in order for him to participate in the next Republican presidential debate during a rally in Macon, Ga. on Monday.
Trump felt the payment — which he promised to donate to “Wounded Warriors or the vets” — was in order because CNN “doesn’t treat me properly” and because he felt he was responsible for the high ratings CNN got during the GOP debate it hosted in September.
“CNN had 23 million people. It was the biggest show in the history of CNN,” Trump said. And the billionaire businessman is reopening negotiations over whether he will lend his star power to the debate the network is hosting Dec. 15.
“How about I tell CNN that I’m not gonna do the next debate?” Trump asked the crowd.
“I won’t do the debate unless they pay me $5 million, all of which money goes to the Wounded Warriors or to vets,” Trump said, following a segue into how people who are “really, really, really smart like I am,” don’t need teleprompters.
Trump was particularly stung by what he felt was unfair coverage of his closed-door meeting with African-American ministers earlier Monday.
Trump predicted the television pundits will call him “chicken” if he carries out his threat, but he attached little value to the opinions of the “talking heads, who are not smart people at all.”
“They call them elite,” Trump said. “My education is better than any of them. I’m smarter than they are.”
After saying that he didn’t want to point the finger at any specific pundits, he added:
“Guys like Karl Rove. He spends hundreds of millions of dollars on campaigns, he wins nothing. There are some people that are losers.”
“We have to get the right people and we have to win,” Trump said.