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

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:

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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
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
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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:

9 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
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
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
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)
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
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)
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)
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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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