The feud between Donald Trump and Fox News boiled over on Tuesday, with the network head and the presidential candidate releasing warring statements over Trump’s continued criticism of Fox host Megyn Kelly.
“Donald Trump’s surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing,” Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes said in a statement posted in full below. “Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case, he should.”
“I totally disagree with the FOX statement,” Trump fired back an hour later in yet another statement bragging about his poll numbers. “I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist. I think her questioning of me, despite all of the polls saying I won the debate, was very unfair.”
The feud could be dangerous for Trump. If his bombastic insults offend Fox’s wide, conservative viewership – which overlaps with Trump’s own base – it could hurt the GOP front-runner.
The dispute erupted during the first presidential debate in early August, when Kelly pressed Trump on past sexist remarks he’d made on Twitter and a handful of progressive positions. Trump slammed her for days, alleged unfair treatment and gave interviews to every news network besides Fox, before Ailes reportedly negotiated a cease-fire.
It didn’t last long: the leading Republican candidate fired off a handful of tweets Monday night during Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” attacking the host on her first day back from vacation.
The Republican presidential candidate’s Twitter account also retweeted fan tweets criticizing Kelly; one even called her a “bimbo.”
Trump’s initial criticism of Kelly was said to have prompted his long-time political adviser Roger Stone to quit, and prominent conservative commentator and Fox host Sean Hannity jumped into the fray on Tuesday, calling on Trump to leave his colleague alone.
Here’s the full statement from Roger Ailes:
“Donald Trump’s surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing. Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism and all of us at FOX News Channel reject the crude and irresponsible attempts to suggest otherwise. I could not be more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults. Her questioning of Mr. Trump at the debate was tough but fair, and I fully support her as she continues to ask the probing and challenging questions that all presidential candidates may find difficult to answer. Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case, he should. We have never been deterred by politicians or anyone else attacking us for doing our job, much less allowed ourselves to be bullied by anyone and we’re certainly not going to start now. All of our journalists will continue to report in the fair and balanced way that has made FOX News Channel the number one news network in the industry.”
Here’s the full statement from Trump:
“I totally disagree with the FOX statement. I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist. I think her questioning of me, despite all of the polls saying I won the debate, was very unfair. Hopefully in the future I will be proven wrong and she will be able to elevate her standards to a level of professionalism that a network such as FOX deserves.
More importantly, I am very pleased to see the latest polls from Public Policy Polling showing me at a strong number one with 35% in New Hampshire, the Monmouth University poll showing me, again at number one, with 30% in South Carolina and the latest national poll from Gravis where I am again the clear front runner with 40%. It was also just announced that I won the prestigious corn kernel poll at the Iowa State Fair by a landslide.
I will be in Iowa tonight with my speech being broadcast live on CNN and other networks. My sole focus in running for the Presidency is to Make America Great Again!”