MELBOURNE, Fla. — Donald Trump, all day Tuesday, maintained he won a debate that most pundits, and many polls, said he lost.
"Last night was very exciting, and nearly every single poll had us winning against Hillary Clinton, big league," he said.
A number of online polls showed him to be the winner, but there's some question over how accurate they were and whether they may have been manipulated by Trump supporters. For all his public bluster, Trump seemed aware of this fact, spending nearly the entire rally re-litigating the debate, this time with the help of a teleprompter.
"For 90 minutes ... I watched her. She was stuck in the past. For 90 minutes, on issue after issue Hillary Clinton defended the terrible status quo, while I laid out our plan, all of us together, to bring jobs, security and prosperity back to the American people," he said, sticking to his prepared text.
Later, veering off, Trump explained away a performance even Republicans said was reactive and lacking substance as a planned strategy of "holding back."
"I didn't want to do anything to embarass her," he said.
Trump also repeated a number of falsehoods from the debate, asking the crowd: "Does everybody believe me, I was against going to Iraq?" though his initial support is well-documented; and "I explained last night stop and frisk was constitutional," he said, though it was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2013.
The rally seemed geared entirely towards reframing the debate as a win. "We won almost every single poll," Trump said again, midway through his speech. "That was a great honor."