Donald Trump says he wasn't insulting the appearance of fellow Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina when he gave a recent interview to Rolling Stone magazine -- instead, he claims he was only commenting on her "persona."
In the magazine's profile, reporter Paul Solotaroff wrote that Trump's reaction to Carly Fiorina on a television screen was to cry: "Look at that face!" and "Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!"
But asked Thursday on Fox News whether he was talking about Fiorina's physical appearance, Trump insisted he wasn't: "No," he said, he was speaking about "the persona, the persona."
"I say that about a lot of people," he said. "I say look at that. Look at that -- how does that -- that's not our president. That's not going to be our president!"
"Probably I did say something like that about Carly," Trump added, but "I'm talking about persona. I'm not talking about looks."
He repeated: "I'm talking about persona, not anything else. Her persona doesn't work."
Trump also noted that the former tech executive "may be a nice woman," but she wouldn't be able to handle leading a country. He attacked her professional career, dismissing her stint as Hewlett-Packard's chief executive and charging that "the company went to hell."
"She got fired," the billionaire said. "She ran for senate in California after she got fired. She was defeated in a landslide."
Fiorina responded late Wednesday to the comments printed in Rolling Stone, saying that she had "no idea" what Trump meant by them.
"Honestly I'm not going to spend a single cycle wondering what Donald Trump means," she told Fox News. "But maybe just maybe I'm getting under his skin a little bit because I'm climbing in the polls."
But Trump denied that the former tech executive was affecting his campaign, saying on Fox News that "she's not getting under my skin."