In his full-court press to win the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump is leaving no detail undone. He's even trying to pick the moderator of Thursday's Republican presidential debate.
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly shouldn't be able to referee the next debate because "she's very biased," Trump said at a campaign event in Pella, Iowa, after having tweeted similar sentiments earlier.
Fox, which will be hosting the presidential debate in Des Moines just days before Iowa voters kick off the 2016 presidential elimination heats with their Feb. 1 caucuses, both shrugged off and welcomed Trump's latest blast at the network's anchor.
"Megyn Kelly has no conflict of interest. Donald Trump is just trying to build up the audience for Thursday's debate, for which we thank him," Fox said in a statement.
Trump, who has been on the attack against Kelly since taking umbrage at her tough questioning of him in the first Republican candidates' debate, didn't just focus on her role. He talked of "her hatred and her bias," and the the billionaire businessman also slammed conservative personality Glenn Beck, who had taken to his radio airwaves earlier in the day to endorse Trump's arch Iowa rival Ted Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas.
"Glenn Beck—every time I see him, he's crying. He's a whack job," Trump said. "What a mess. Is this guy OK?
"By the way, he endorsed Ted Cruz. I'll take Sarah Palin every single day," he added, reminding the crowd of his endorsement by the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate.
Trump, who is in a horse-race with Cruz in the Hawkeye State, is continuing his attacks on Cruz as he barnstorms Iowa.
"I know he can run for the prime minister of Canada," Trump to the crowd in Pella, reviving his contention that Cruz may not meet the constitutional qualification of being a "natural born citizen" because of his birth in Canada. "But honestly, nobody knows where or not Ted Cruz can run for president of the United States." Cruz's mother was an American citizen.
Trump also appealed to local pride during his nearly 60-minute speech at a Central College auditorium before a capacity crowd of about 300 people. The Manhattan real estate baron said he is "going to church tomorrow in Iowa." And he said he has "great support" for the ethanol industry, a key component of the Iowa economy. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad slammed Cruz earlier this week for being "anti-renewable energy."
Senator Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, introduced Trump. While Iowa's longtime Republican senator didn't formally endorse Trump, Grassley's presence was notable given that Cruz was campaigning in his hometown earlier in the day.
"I want Mr. Trump to know that I appreciate his support for me and, most importantly, for Iowa being first in the nation," Grassley told the crowd.
But Trump's most direct pander came early on in his remarks, when the real-estate magnate called out a quick question to the crowd.
"Anybody here work at Pella?" Trump asked, referring to the well-known window and door manufacturing company that bears the name of the town where it's headquartered. More than two dozen hands went up .
"Pella, Pella, Pella. I’m always negotiating the price of those damn windows," Trump said, prompting laughter. "I pay so much money to them -- I get the shudders to think I'm here."