Trump says skipping Fox News debate 'could' have hurt him in Iowa

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Trump Opens Up About Second Place Finish


Donald Trump admitted that his choice to skip the Fox News-hosted GOP debate could have contributed to his second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses Monday night.

"I think it could have been the debate," Trump, who finished second behind Ted Cruz, said during a news conference in Milford, N.H., on Tuesday. "I think some people were disappointed I didn't go in the debate."

Still, when asked by a reporter if he wished he could go back and attend the Jan. 28 Republican primary debate, Trump stuck by his decision.

See the rally Donald Trump held instead of attending the debate:

19 PHOTOS
Donald Trump's Iowa Rally at the same time as GOP debate
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Trump says skipping Fox News debate 'could' have hurt him in Iowa
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum, left, and Donald Trump, center, laugh as they listens to Mike Huckabee during a campaign event on the campus of Drake University Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a campaign event on the campus of Drake University Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, center, and Mike Huckabee, left, applaud while listening to Rick Santorum during a campaign event on the campus of Drake University Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump applauds as Treasure Island Casino owner Phil Ruffin speaks, along with his wife, Oleksandra Nikolayenko, at a event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump laughs as Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum jokes about not being photographed in front of a Trump podium sign at a event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appears on stage with fellow candidates Mike Huckabee, left, and Rick Santorum at a Trump event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally raising funds for US military veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. US Republicans scrambling to win the first contest in the presidential nomination race were gearing for battle at high-profile debate in Iowa, but frontrunner Donald Trump is upending the campaign by defiantly refusing to attend. Trump's gamble has left the presidential race in uncharted waters just days before Iowans vote on February 1, insisting he will not back down in his feud with debate host Fox News.Instead, the billionaire has doubled down, hosting a rogue, rival event for US military veterans at the same time that his own party is showcasing its candidates for president to all-important Iowa voters. / AFP / William EDWARDS (Photo credit should read WILLIAM EDWARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, waves during a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Trump, according to a flurry of early-state and national polls, is the overwhelming favorite of self-identified moderate and liberal Republican voters. Among more conservative voters, he often trails his chief rival for the nomination, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Trump, according to a flurry of early-state and national polls, is the overwhelming favorite of self-identified moderate and liberal Republican voters. Among more conservative voters, he often trails his chief rival for the nomination, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Protesters, left, are confronted by supporters during a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Trump, according to a flurry of early-state and national polls, is the overwhelming favorite of self-identified moderate and liberal Republican voters. Among more conservative voters, he often trails his chief rival for the nomination, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, waves, at event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee waves to attendees before the start of a veterans event with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
People cheer before the arrival of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for at a rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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"If I had to do it again," he said, "I would do the exact same thing and the reason is, do you know why? Because I raised $6 million for the vets in one hour. So if I took a second place instead of a first place and could give the vets $6 million dollars, I'll do that all day long."

He also questioned why Marco Rubio was hailed as "surging" for his third-place finish.

"People didn't talk about my second place [finish]," he said. "They didn't talk about it as positively as they should have."

READ MORE: Trump vs. Fox News "Looks Like Pro Wrestling" as Experts Take Sides

The Republican frontrunner withdrew from the Jan. 28 debate after a public feud with Fox News and its anchor Megyn Kelly. Trump instead held a fundraiser for wounded veterans during the time of the debate. Despite his absence, Fox News' debate coverage earned 12.5 million viewers.

Later on Tuesday night, a stern-faced Trump appeared on Fox News' political show Hannity, where he confirmed to host Sean Hannity that he is ready to move forward with the network.

When prompted by Hannity, saying, "Everything now is good with Fox from your end," Trump replied, "That's true."

Trump then appeared to let down his guard as talk turned to Iowa, again bringing up the GOP debate and the response to Rubio's third-place finish compared to his second.

See more from the Iowa caucuses:

26 PHOTOS
Iowa Caucus candidates speaking, Clinton and Cruz celebrate
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Trump says skipping Fox News debate 'could' have hurt him in Iowa
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a caucus night rally as his wife Heidi listens Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. Cruz sealed a victory in the Republican Iowa caucuses, winning on the strength of his relentless campaigning and support from his party's diehard conservatives. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by former President Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea Clinton speaks at her caucus night rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, and his wave Jane acknowledge the crowd as he arrives for his caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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 Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and his family pray during opening of a caucus site, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016 in Clive, Iowa. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a caucus night rally, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, left, embraces her husband Bill Clinton, former U.S. President, center, as their daughter Chelsea Clinton looks on during a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the Iowa Republican caucuses in an upset over billionaire Donald Trump, while Clinton was clinging to the narrowest edge over Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomerg
Supporters cheer for Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during a caucus night rally, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a caucus night rally, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, right, blows a kiss as he walks off stage with his family during a caucus watch party in West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Republicans looking for a candidate who could stop Trump found one on Monday evening, as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz emerged from a brutal campaign with a victory in the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., smiles during a caucus night rally on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
DES MOINES, IA - FEBRUARY 01: Supporters cheer during Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) caucus night party February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were locked in a tight race with caucus goers late in the evening. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., lifts his son Anthony, 10, at a caucus night rally, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas and 2016 presidential candidate, greets supporters after being declared the winner of the Iowa caucus during his campaign's caucus night celebration at the Elwell Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Cruz won the Iowa Republican caucuses in an upset over billionaire Donald Trump, while Democrat Hillary Clinton was clinging to the narrowest edge over Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the Iowa Republican caucuses in an upset over billionaire Donald Trump, while Clinton was clinging to the narrowest edge over Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomerg
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, from left, former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea acknowledge supporters during a caucus night party at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
DES MOINES, IA - FEBRUARY 1 : Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stands on stage with his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders during his Caucus night event at the at the Holiday Inn February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders was in a virtual tie with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late in caucus polling. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a caucus night party, on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Josh Kent celebrates at Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, caucus night rally, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., acknowledges the audience at a caucus night celebration, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses his supporters after finishing second in the Iowa Caucus, in West Des Moines, Iowa, February 1, 2016. Republican Senator Ted Cruz has won the Iowa caucuses -- the first vote in the US presidential race -- in a tight contest with frontrunner Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio, US media projections showed. / AFP / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - FEBRUARY 01: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets supporters during her caucus night event in the Olmsted Center at Drake University on February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Clinton is competing with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Iowa Democratic caucus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for photos during a caucus night rally on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Jane Sanders and her husband Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., watch caucus returns in his hotel room, on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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"I think I probably would have done a little better in Iowa had I not gone out and done that event for the vets," he told the host. "Some people thought that not doing the debate might have been a positive for my opponents."

However, Trump said he was "really happy" about the money that he raised for veterans from his fundraiser and remained proud of his performance at Iowa.

Saying that he feels he deserves "a little credit' for second place, Trump said he "spent less than just about anyone else" and that the response to Rubio was much more positive. "Marco Rubio came in third," he said "I was over 2,000 votes more, which is a lot. Everybody said it was his evening -; they actually called him the winner."

READ MORE: Daily News Mocks Donald Trump After Iowa Caucus Loss

Feb. 2, 9:35 p.m. Updated with Trump's Hannity appearance

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