Donald Trump goes off on 'dishonest' reporters who say he's slipping

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Donald Trump has two words to describe a recent spate of articles that suggested he may be losing steam in the Republican presidential primary: "dishonest reporting."

"Very dishonest and the people understand that," Trump said in a conversation with Business Insider Thursday.

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Three articles published Thursday by CNN, Politico, and The Washington Post used recent polls from Quinnipiac and CNN/ORC to argue that the surge that propelled Trump to the head of the GOP pack may be ending.

The Quinnipiac poll, released Thursday, showed Trump in first place. But it also found that Republican voters said, by a 4-to-1 margin, that former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina "out-performed" Trump in the Republican presidential debate last Wednesday.

The CNN/ORC poll, released Sunday, also put Trump in the lead but found his support had dipped eight points. It also found Fiorina surging.

On Thursday morning, Politico's Kyle Cheney published a piece that pointed to the CNN/ORC poll, predictions from rival campaigns, and the widespread impression that Trump "faded a bit" during the debate. Cheney argued that the "Trump momentum shows signs of stalling."

CNN's Eric Bradner came in with a story of his own a few hours later. Bradner said the Quinnipiac poll "reinforce[d] a recent CNN/ORC poll that showed an ascendant Fiorina in the wake of her strong debate performance last week."

That story was headlined, in part, "Donald Trump lead shrinks."

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Donald Trump goes off on 'dishonest' reporters who say he's slipping
FORT WORTH, TX - FEBRUARY 26: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Fort Worth Convention Center on February 26, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. Trump is campaigning in Texas, days ahead of the Super Tuesday primary. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures as he speaks at a campaign rally Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in Florence, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a child he pulled from the crowd as he arrives to speak at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
TOPSHOT - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 19, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump gestures during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at Plymouth State University Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Plymouth, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Pastor Joshua Nink, right, prays for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, as wife, Melania, left, watches after a Sunday service at First Christian Church Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 19, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump blows a kiss after speaking at his caucus night rally, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Pensacola Bay Center in Pensacola, Fla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Snyder)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop before next months earliest in the nation presidential primary, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Windham,NH (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
RENO, NV - JANUARY 10: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a campaign rally at the Reno Event Center on January 10, 2016 in Reno, Nevada. Donald Trump continued to raise doubts Sunday about rival Ted Cruzs eligibility for the presidency, saying Republicans will risk losing a lawsuitand potentially the nations highest officeif they nominate Cruz as their candidate. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pops through a doorway as he arrives to address a gathering during a campaign stop at a Rotary Club luncheon in Manchester, N.H., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
MESA, AZ - DECEMBER 16: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guest gathered during a campaign event at the International Air Response facility on December 16, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona. Trump is in Arizona the day after the Republican Presidential Debate hosted by CNN in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Republican Candidate Donald Trump arrives to speaks to the press with Rev. Darrell Scott(R), senior pastor of the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights after meetings with prominent African American clerics at Trump Tower in New York November 30 ,2015. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 23: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign rally at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on November 23, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. Trump spoke about immigration and Obamacare, among other topics, to around 14,000 supporters at the event. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
DORAL, FL - OCTOBER 23: Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump attends a campaigns rally In Florida at the Trump National Doral on October 23, 2015 in Doral, Florida. Trump leads most polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. (Photo by Johnny Louis/FilmMagic)
COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 23: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves a campaign event September 23, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier today, Trump tweeted 'FoxNews has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won't be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future.' (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump reacts during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Donald Trump greets supporters, tourists and the curious after taping an interview with Anderson Cooper at a Trump owned building in mid-town Manhattan on July 22, 2015 in New York City. Trump, who is running for president on a Republican ticket, has come under intensifying criticism for his behavior on the campaign trail. The billionaire's most recent comments on Senator John McCain's war record in Vietnam have resulted in almost universal criticism from fellow candidates. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves for lunch after being summoned for jury duty in New York, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Trump was due to report for jury duty Monday in Manhattan. The front-runner said last week before a rally in New Hampshire that he would willingly take a break from the campaign trail to answer the summons. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, left, looks on as Sam Clovis, newly appointed national co-chairman of Trumps campaign, speaks during a news conference ahead of a rally at Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. President Barack Obama's top business ambassador dismissed Trump's call for a wall along the Mexico border, saying the U.S. is focused instead on expanding business with one of its biggest trade partners. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BILOXI, MS - JANUARY 02: Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump pauses with supporters after speaking at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on January 2, 2016 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Trump, who has strong support from Southern voters, spoke to thousands in the small Mississippi city on the Gulf of Mexico. Trump continues to split the GOP establishment with his populist and controversial views on immigration, muslims and some of his recent comments on women. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pulls his hair back to show that it is not a toupee while speaking during a rally at the TD Convention Center, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Greenville, S.C. Trump says his trademark hairdo is for real. He told 1,800 people in South Carolina Thursday: "It's my hair ... I swear." (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Supporters reach to great Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump as he leaves a brief stop to speak to supporters and the media in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. Trump predicted Hispanics would love him, because as president he said he'd grab jobs back from overseas and give more opportunity to those who live in the U.S. legally. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump remarks about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's glasses at his South Carolina campaign rally in Bluffton, S.C., Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump talks to the media at a press conference during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump responds to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's closing remarks during the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (R) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker participate in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
OSKALOOSA, IA - JULY 25: Republican presidential hopeful businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for a rally on July 25, 2015 in Oskaloosa, Iowa. During his last visit to the state Trump sparked controversy when he said Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a former POW, was not a war hero. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, speaks during the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in Washington. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump addresses supporters at a campaign rally, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
TURNBURRY, SCOTLAND - JUNE 08: Donald Trump Visits Turnberry Golf Club, after its $10 Million refurbishment, on June 8, 2015 in Turnberry, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
DERRY, NH - AUGUST 19: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hugs an American flag as he takes the stage for a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IOWA - AUGUST 15: Donald Trump at the Iowa State Fair on August 14, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The Iowa State Fair is one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the United States. The annual fair, the largest event in Iowa, attracts over a million visitors each year. The fair runs through August 23. After a brief walk around its time for Mr Trump to board his club cart again and leave the fair. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
AYR, SCOTLAND - JULY 30: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump visits his Scottish golf course Turnberry on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump answered questions from the media at a press conference. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
TURNBURRY, SCOTLAND - JUNE 08: Donald Trump visits Turnberry Golf Club, after its $10 Million refurbishment on June 8, 2015 in Turnberry, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, gestures while speaking during The Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, July 18, 2015. The sponsor, The FAMiLY LEADER, is a 'pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-life organization which champions the principle that God is the ultimate leader of the family.' Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 16: Donald Trump arrives at NBCUniversal's 2015 Winter TCA Tour - Day 2 at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 16, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive officer of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, pauses while speaking during a news conference at Trump Towers in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. 'I have signed the pledge,' he said, referring to a document stating that he would not run as an independent candidate in the event that he does not win the Republican nomination. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US tycoon Donald Trump arrives to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, on February 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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The Washington Post's Philip Bump was up next. He published an article that used the CNN/ORC poll and wider averages to make the claim that "Donald Trump's slide in the polls is beginning to look real."

Business Insider reached out to Trump and his team to ask what they thought about the notion that he's slipping. Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said the media is motivated to diminish Trump's standing.

"Look, I think the media in general wants to have a narrative that this race is either tighter than it really is," Lewandowski said. "Or they want to propel other candidates into the forefront because they know that Mr. Trump can't be bought and is only accountable to the American voter."

Lewandowski argued that Trump remains the front-runner by a wide margin in a large Republican field.

"If you were any other candidate in this race, you would welcome the opportunity to have Mr. Trump's poll numbers," he said.

Trump and his team pointed to a slew of polls to dispute the notion that he's losing steam. Specifically, they noted a Zogby poll released Sunday that showed his lead growing, Reuters' five-day poll tracker, and a Morning Consult poll that came out Tuesday. Trump also pointed to the poll average on The Huffington Post, which has publicly feuded with his campaign.

"It's dishonest reporting and — let me change it — it's knowingly dishonest," Trump said. "Because the polls speak for themselves. I'm up. Check out Zogby. Check out Reuters — the Reuters — what do they call that? The Reuters average. Even The Huffington Post. Check all of them."

All of the polls show Trump well ahead of the pack. Though Reuters and Zogby showed Trump's lead growing, Huffington Post and Morning Consult found he has dipped slightly.

In addition to these national numbers, Trump and his team also pointed to polls showing him ahead in key primary states. Specifically, they identified an Iowa poll by Public Policy Polling and a Sunshine State poll by Florida Atlantic University.

But Trump took issue with how the local Sun Sentinel newspaper covered the Florida poll with a headline that focused on the state's former governor, Republican Jeb Bush, and US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida).

"I just won Florida. I'm way up over everybody in Florida. You have a governor, you have a senator. I'm at 32, they're at 19 and 11. OK? Rubio's at 19, Bush is at 11, and I'm at 32," Trump said. "But the headline is, 'Rubio goes ahead of Bush.' And I won the poll! I didn't even know I was in the poll. I won the poll and the headline doesn't even have my name in it!"

On the campaign trail and debate stage, many of the shots Trump has taken at his opponents emphasize his status as the front-runner. Business Insider asked Trump whether the fact he has made so many of the arguments for his candidacy about his poll numbers put him in a position where it would be disastrous for him to slip. Trump said it would be impossible to answer this question because he has, thus far, maintained a lead.

"I can't tell you," said Trump. "My numbers have just gone up. I just can't tell you."

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