Maureen Dowd Explains Defending Trump’s ‘Blood’ Remark: ‘I Believe Him’

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd told TPM on Monday that there was a simple reason she defended Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “blood” remark as part of her Sunday column: “I believe him.”

Trump came under fire earlier this month after he attacked Fox News host Megyn Kelly by saying it was as if she had “blood coming out of her wherever” while asking him questions during the first GOP debate.

Trump insisted later he wasn’t referring to Kelly’s period and that he was referring to blood coming out of her nose. Some of his rivals and other fellow Republicans, though, interpreted it as a comment on the Fox host’s menstrual cycle. And even the Times, in an Aug. 8 news article about Trump’s remark and the fallout, described it matter-of-factly as being about Kelly “menstruating.”

Trump found an unexpected defender on Sunday when Dowd, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, published an interview with him that touched, among other things, on his comments about women. Tucked near the bottom of the piece, Dowd briefly mentioned that she didn’t think Trump was referring to Kelly’s menstrual cycle with his “blood” remark.

“I don’t think he meant it that way,” Dowd wrote in her column.

Dowd left it at that in the column. So on Monday, TPM asked her by email if she’d be willing to expand on her thought.

Here is her full emailed response:

I don’t think that’s where Trump was headed. I believe him when he says that he was going to say something about her nose or ears next, and then suddenly realized he should probably drop it. He used the same image about a man — Chris Wallace — in the same interview with Don Lemon, saying “there was blood pouring out of his eyes, too.”

I told him during our interview that I did not think he should have been attacking Kelly with gory imagery for asking appropriately tough questions during a debate.

You can never get into someone’s head and know for sure. It’s just my impression from covering his various forays into politics.

Dowd is correct that Trump also made “blood” comments about Fox News host and debate co-moderator Chris Wallace during the same interview.

In the interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Trump described Wallace as having “blood pouring out of his eyes” during the debate.

He used the “eyes” metaphor when discussing Kelly, but he added something else when it came to her.

“She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions,” Trump said at the time. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

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