Donald Trump (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)

"He knows better than to lecture me": Donald Trump slams report that GOP chairman tried to silence him

The Donald responds to Washington Post report with characteristic bluster


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Sophia Tesfaye
July 9, 2015 7:32PM (UTC)

Donald Trump denied reports that he has reprimanded by the head of the Republican party last night -- saying of Chairman Reince Preibus, he "knows better than to lecture me.”

Trump told reporters Thursday morning that a late breaking Washington Post report Wednesday evening was inaccurate in its description of a nearly one hour long phone call between Trump and Preibus. The Post cited unnamed "GOP donors familiar with Priebus’s thinking" who claimed Priebus urged Trump to "tone it down" multiple times.

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Another unnamed Republican told CNN that Preibus ended his call with Trump by saying "Look, I've gotta tell you, I spent four years trying to make inroads with the Hispanic community ... how we address illegal immigration is very important."

This morning, Trump offered a wildly different version of events. “It was more of a congratulatory call,” Trump claimed, according to the New York Times.

According to Trump's account, Priebus “said wow, you’re really doing well in the polls, you really hit a nerve.” Trump said that Preibus predicted a rise for Trump in popular opinion, telling him, “It could be that you’ll be number one in the polls.”

“He said, ‘Well, you really have hit a nerve, keep going,’” Mr. Trump recalled. “He said, ‘If you could tone it down – I know that’s tough – but if you could tone it down, that wouldn’t be bad.”

Trump tweeted as much Thursday morning, claiming the call only lasted 10 minutes:

[embedtweet id=619135211121561600]

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Trump didn't seem amused by reports that Priebus could silence him with a call, saying Preibus, "knows better than to lecture me ... we’re not dealing with a five-star Army general."

Following their losses in the 2012 election, Priebus commissioned a GOP autopsy that found Republicans needed to change their rhetoric vis-a-vis Latino voters in order to win a presidential election. Trump dismissed talk that his comments on Mexican immigrants will push away voters, predicting this week that he'd "win the Latino vote."

Sean Spicer, a spokesman for Priebus, declined to comment on Trump's account of the conversation but he confirmed to the Post last night that Preibus "did have a very respectful conversation with Mr. Trump on Wednesday. They discussed multiple comments, including comments on illegal immigration.” Spicer explained that “Chairman Priebus often speaks privately with candidates seeking our party’s nomination.”


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Elections Donald Trump Reince Priebus Republican Party

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