Washington: Donald Trump visibly delighted in the drama unleashed by his snub of Thursday`s Republican presidential debate -- taunting his rivals and host channel Fox News from a nearby charity event designed to steal their thunder.
The billionaire Republican frontrunner boycotted the debate in Des Moines, Iowa as part of a simmering feud with the conservative news network and went on to schedule a competing event for military veterans, broadcast at the same time and in the same city.
"When you`re treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights," the 69-year-old mogul said as he opened the event, doubling down on his claim that Fox News -- and particularly its anchor Megyn Kelly -- has shown bias against him.
"I have to go a step further and say that Fox has been extremely nice in the last number of hours," he added. "They called a few minutes ago. Can you come over? I say, hasn`t it already started?" he mused.
"They`ve been very nice and wanted me to go, and apologized and everything," he said. "But once this started, it`s for our vets, there was nothing I could do."
Fox News issued a statement saying its chief, Roger Ailes, had spoken to Trump and "acknowledged his concerns." It added that Trump had offered to appear at the debate upon condition Fox News contribute $5 million to his charities, which it refused to do.
Trump had taunted Fox and his rivals before the main debate, saying it would be a "total disaster" with low ratings.
On stage he gloated at the turnout for his dueling charity fundraiser for veterans -- pulled together just a few miles (kilometers) from the Fox News event in just 24 hours, he claimed.
"Look at all the cameras. This is like the Academy Awards. We`re actually told we have more cameras than they do by quite a bit."
"We have thousands of people outside trying to get in."
"For me personally is it a good thing? A bad thing? Will I get more votes? Nobody knows. You`re going to like it because we raised over $5 million (for charity) in one day. That`s not so bad," he quipped.