Billionaire real estate mogul and outspoken President Barack Obama critic Donald Trump responded to a jab from one of the campaign's senior advisers on Monday, calling it an "honor" to be the target of such "hatred."
On Sunday, Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs used Trump to blast GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's claims that the president was waging "a campaign of division and anger and hate.”
“I’m not going to get lectured by Mitt Romney or anybody on the Romney campaign about the tone of this campaign,” Gibbs said. “[Romney is] auctioning off dinners with birther-in-chief, right-wing nut job Donald Trump, who still questions whether or not the president of the United States was born in America.”
Trump took to Fox News to respond to Gibbs.
“I guess I have to consider it an honor, if you really think about it," Trump said on "Fox & Friends," after repeating Romney's claims about the president's campaign being built on "tremendous anger" and "hatred." "What else can you say? It’s really very sad."
Trump continued, expressing his belief that Gibbs was showing hostility toward him because his crusade for access to Obama's personal records was hitting "close to home."
"I have been asking him lots of questions. I’ve been saying, why aren’t you letting go of your passport applications, why aren’t you giving your college applications and your college records?" Trump remarked. "Why wouldn’t you do it? Many presidents have done it in running. Why wouldn’t he do it? Why is he spending millions and millions of dollars in legal fees to try and not have to release these kinds of things? And I do ask those questions, and I guess they don’t like them. I think it’s hitting very, very close to home.”
Trump also defended his business record, portraying himself as a benevolent employer.
"You know, you do a good job. I’ve employed thousands and thousands of people. I’ve paid, you talk about Medicare and Medicaid, health benefits, thousands and thousands of people have been taken care of -- education for their families," he said. "They love Donald Trump. They work for Donald Trump, and you know, it’s pretty sad when you hear statements like that.”
Trump has served as the target of barbs from the White House before. Obama took aim at Trump during the White House Correspondents Dinner earlier this year in an incident that the businessman appeared to take in stride.
"I was honored. ... It was done in a very nice fashion and well delivered," Trump said of Obama's joke, which had suggested he, not Osama bin Laden, was one of the "world’s most notorious individuals."
"He is the president, and his first words were uttered about Donald Trump."