The ongoing feud between Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been well documented ever since the Fox News host dared to press the almighty Trump during the first GOP debate back in August. Since then, “The Donald” has made it abundantly clear that he’s not a fan of Kelly. Then again, Trump lashes out, bullies and attacks anyone who dares to question or criticize him, so the fact he’s not a fan of a member of the media isn’t exactly a shock.
Then on Tuesday everything came to a head when Fox News mocked Trump’s continued demands that Kelly be pulled as a debate moderator by saying that Russia and Iran were planning to be “unfair,” too. Clearly insinuating that if Trump can’t handle Kelly he might have trouble dealing with some of our greatest adversaries.
Well, the billionaire didn’t take too kindly to this and decided he wasn’t going to participate in Thursday’s debate. After all, it’s not-at-all important for a potential president to be able to handle criticism, pressure and act like an adult, right? Who needs the leader of the free world to possess any of those traits?
Though the plot thickened a bit when Fox News issued a statement containing allegations of threats Trump’s campaign manager had apparently relayed to the network in relation to Kelly:
As many of our viewers know, FOX News is hosting a sanctioned debate in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday night, three days before the first votes of the 2016 election are cast in the Iowa Caucus. Donald Trump is refusing to debate seven of his fellow presidential candidates on stage that night, which is near unprecedented.
We’re not sure how Iowans are going to feel about him walking away from them at the last minute, but it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing – Megyn Kelly, whom he has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage. Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski toward Megyn Kelly.
In a call on Saturday with a FOX News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so. We can’t give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees.
Trump is still welcome at Thursday night’s debate and will be treated fairly, just as he has been during his 132 appearances on FOX News & FOX Business, but he can’t dictate the moderators or the questions.
Let’s take a moment to look at exactly what Fox News said here.
First, they’re basically throwing Trump under the bus by hinting that the people of Iowa should want to think twice about voting for him considering he “walked away at the last minute” from this debate.
Then they went on to outline a well-known fact that Trump has been after Megyn Kelly for months, something that you typically don’t see news networks admit. While others might speculate it, usually these sorts of matters are kept “in house.”
But the most damning part to all of this is the accusation that Trump’s campaign manager was making some rather obvious passive aggressive threats aimed at the network concerning Kelly and the “rough days” she experienced following the first debate. A clear reminder that many of Trump’s supporters went after her with such hostility that she abruptly went on a vacation that Fox News tried to downplay as something that had already been planned. It was heavily speculated that the break was an attempt to remove her from television to let the hostility from Trump supporters subside.
Essentially, they accused the Trump campaign of trying to terrorize Fox News into giving in and removing Kelly from the debate.
These are some rather scathing accusations, though I’m sure Trump will deny ever trying to “terrorize” Fox News or threaten Kelly in any way. But I actually do believe Fox News in this instance. It’s been clear for days that Trump thought they would give in because he’s used to most people bowing to his every demand, and when they responded with a bit of snark, Trump threw his little temper tantrum which brings us to where we’re currently at with the GOP presidential frontrunner refusing to participate in a debate.
I have my doubts about Trump keeping to his word and not showing up for the debate. The question is, which part of his ego will win:
- The part that wants to “get at” Fox News for daring to stand up to him. – or –
- The part that would be driven crazy seeing the other Republican candidates tear him to pieces in front of millions of Americans without being there to defend himself.
I guess we’ll soon find out.