Donald Trump forcefully rejected the idea Tuesday that he might be considering getting out of the race as his lead in the polls has contracted in recent weeks.
“I’m not going anywhere, I’m leading every poll and I’m going to make our country great again,” Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” on Tuesday morning.
“I’m not getting out. I’m going to win, OK?” Trump added. “The answer is: I’m going all the way and I’m going to win.”
Trump said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he would get out of the race if his poll numbers plummeted and he had no chance of winning, setting off speculation among pundits that Trump might soon drop out of the GOP presidential contest.
Trump remains the leading contender for the GOP nomination in all the major polls, but that lead has slipped in recent weeks as contenders like retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businesswoman Carly Fiorina gain on the billionaire candidate.
The latest poll in Iowa from NBC News/Wall Street Journal shows Trump leading Carson by just 5 points, down from a double-digit lead just weeks ago. And in New Hampshire, Trump’s lead has also slipped to 5 points ahead of Fiorina – down from 10 points just two weeks ago.
Trump also took the opportunity Tuesday to once again slam Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, as a “total lightweight” and even knocked Rubio for past financial difficulties: “Take a look at his past, he’s got $12 in the bank.”
“Rubio is not the guy that’s going to be negotiating with the kinds of people you have to negotiate with to turn this country around,” Trump said.
Trump has been jabbing at the Rubio campaign in recent weeks, as the Florida senator got positive reviews for his debate performance last month and has risen in the polls.
His campaign sent a case of “Trump Ice Natural Spring Water” to Rubio’s headquarters, a dig at the time Floridian who once took a memorable gulp from a water bottle while giving the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
Later on Tuesday, the Republican also defended his support for eminent domain, which allows government to seize private land and pays the owners in return. Some conservatives, such as the influential Club for Growth, which is attacking Trump for his position, oppose the power in order to protect property rights.
“Eminent domain – when it comes to jobs, roads, the public good – I think it’s a wonderful thing,” Trump told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “I fully understand the conservative approach, but I don’t think it was explained to most conservatives.”
CNN’s Theodore Schleifer contributed to this report.