(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Real-estate tycoon Donald Trump argued during the Tuesday-night Fox Business Network debate that US wages are "too high" — and he didn't back off the next morning when pressed.
"It's a tough position politically," Trump admitted during an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"We have to become competitive with the world. Our taxes are too high, our wages are too high. Everything is too high. We have to compete with other countries."
The leading Republican presidential candidate raised eyebrows with his initial comment, which was in response to a question about raising the minimum wage.
The National Journal's Josh Kraushaar labeled Trump's answer a "huge debate blunder." He noted that Trump has risen to the top of the polls by striking a populist note on economic issues.
Trump has railed against the tax system for unfairly benefiting "hedge fund guys," and he has proposed to eliminate the so-called carried interest loophole in the tax code.
He also opposes free-trade deals supported by Washington Republicans and, unlike some of his rivals, Trump supports a graduated income tax that would result in billionaires like himself paying higher rates.
But Trump held his ground Wednesday despite "Morning Joe" host Mika Brzezinski telling him that "nobody can live" on the federal minimum wage of $7.50 an hour.
"We have got to do something to compete with the rest of the world," Trump said. "Our country is not competitive anymore. That's why we're losing all of the manufacturers. Now, it's currency manipulation and all of those things that I talked about last night."
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