NEW YORK – “Go back to Univision,” Donald Trump said when Univision anchor Jorge Ramos tried to ask a question at a Tuesday evening press conference.
Ramos wasn’t altogether surprised when a security guard escorted him out of the room. In fact, he wasn’t sure if he’d be allowed into the press conference in the first place.
The two men have a complicated history. Ramos, who is bilingual, is often said to be the most famous Spanish-language news anchor in the United States. He has been trying to get an interview with Trump for months.
“I don’t understand,” Ramos said earlier this month on ‘Reliable Sources.’ “Is he afraid of talking to me? Is he afraid of talking to Univision?”
With Trump’s immigration plan stirring controversy, Ramos decided to travel to Iowa for Trump’s Tuesday event.
Ramos and his colleagues thought he might be blocked from entering, but he wasn’t. Once inside, Ramos decided to stand up and ask a question without being called on.
“You haven’t been called,” Trump said, before saying Ramos should go back to Univision. Trump also repeatedly told him to “sit down” before security intervened.
Ramos “did something that’s not totally uncommon for reporters to do, which is to stand up and keep asking a question, even if the person you’re asking doesn’t really want to answer it,” said CNN political reporter Sara Murray, who was at the press conference.
Ramos was allowed back inside about 10 minutes later. That’s when the two men had a long, sometimes tense back-and-forth about Trump’s deportation plans for undocumented aliens and his call for an end to birthright citizenship.
Trump debated him for about 5 minutes. It ended with Trump saying, “You and I, we’ll talk.”
“We’d love for Mr. Trump to sit down for an in-depth interview with Jorge to talk about the specifics of his proposals,” a spokesman for Ramos said afterwards. “We think his thoughts on the topic of immigration are important to Jorge’s viewers on Fusion and Univision.”
Ramos is outspoken about the importance of the Hispanic electorate. And, he has tangled with Trump before.
In June, Trump published Ramos’s cell phone number to prove that Univision was “begging” to interview him even while canceling the Miss USA telecast, which Trump partly owns. Trump is suing Univision for $500 million.
Univision dropped the pageant to protest Trump’s remarks about Mexican immigrants being criminals and rapists.
Trump mentioned the lawsuit while debating Ramos at the press conference.
Ramos has also assailed Trump’s rhetoric about immigration.
“I think Donald Trump is the loudest voice of intolerance, division and hatred right now in America,” Ramos said. “What he is saying about immigrants and women is not only disgraceful, but dangerous.”
Ramos anchors the nightly news on Univision, reaching millions of Spanish-speaking viewers, and also has an English-language program on a cable channel called Fusion.
He didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment about his nationally televised Q&A with Trump. The spokesman said Ramos was busy preparing for the West Coast edition of his Univision newscast and his Fusion show.
Trump can be blunt and even nasty with journalists who challenge him. Earlier in the day, he touched off a new battle with Fox News for resuming attacks against host Megyn Kelly. And, earlier this summer, he barred an Iowa reporter from his rally because the reporter’s newspaper said Trump should drop his campaign.