Donald Trump’s feud with Fox News reached yet another pinnacle on Wednesday, as the Republican presidential front-runner declared that he wouldn’t be appearing on Fox News in “the foreseeable future” as a result of what he considers unfair treatment by the network.
Fox News has refuted Trump’s characterization of the fallout, saying in a statement released Wednesday that the candidate’s planned appearance on a Thursday episode of “The O’Reilly Factor” was canceled, which led to his tweet about a “boycott” of the network.
“The press predictably jumped to cover his tweet, creating yet another distraction from any real issues that Mr. Trump might be questioned about,” the statement read. “When coverage doesn’t go his way, he engages in personal attacks on our anchors and hosts, which has grown stale and tiresome. He doesn’t seem to grasp that candidates telling journalists what to ask is not how the media works in this country.”
Trump has repeatedly clashed with Fox News, and he continues to lament what he perceives as coverage that is biased against his campaign. On Tuesday night, he lashed out at network anchor Megyn Kelly yet again.
In the past he has singled out Kelly for personal attacks, questioning her intelligence and talent, especially in the aftermath of her performance moderating his first 2016 presidential debate in August.
“Do you ever notice that lightweight @megynkelly constantly goes after me but when I hit back it is totally sexist. She is highly overrated!” he tweeted late on Tuesday. He added that the Fox News host should “take another eleven day ‘unscheduled’ vacation.”
Trump has been highly criticized for the remarks he’s made at Kelly’s expense in the past. She got into a somewhat testy exchange with the candidate during that first top-tier 2016 GOP debate when she asked him about sexist remarks he’d made in the past on social media.
After the debate, Trump said Kelly was “bleeding out her … wherever” during the event. Several political observers interpreted Trump’s remarks to be an allusion to menstruation, an accusation the candidate has vehemently denied.
He did however continue to question Kelly’s professionalism for several days afterword, before reaching an unofficial truce with the network. Trump has since made appearances on Fox programs, but in the last 48 hours he has begun attacking the cable news channel again for disrespecting his presidential campaign.
On Twitter, Trump called Kelly’s show “terrible” and “the worst” and suggested her colleague Bill O’Reilly was booking “Trump haters” on his show. The candidate also retweeted several supportive messages, including one which called Fox guests “spoon-fed morons.”
“I am having a really hard time watching @FoxNews,” Trump added.
During a Tuesday appearance on “The Today Show”, O’Reilly described Trump’s behavior as “theater.”
“I’ve known Trump a long time. He wants people to like him. When people criticize him, he takes it personally,” O’Reilly said.
Meanwhile, Kelly has consistently taken the high road, refusing to directly address Trump’s insults. She has, however, strongly defended her performance as a moderator.
“Mr. Trump is an interesting man who has captured the attention of the electorate. That’s why he’s leading in the polls,” she said in August. “Trump, who is the front-runner, will not apologize. And I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism.”
Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who is reportedly friendly with Trump, has used far sterner language to criticize the real estate mogul in the past. Calling Trump’s comments on Kelly “disturbing,” he demanded an apology from Trump that never came in public. Still, Trump and Ailes were purported to have buried the hatchet after the discussing the Kelly matter in private.
And Kelly wasn’t Trump’s only target on Tuesday. He lashed out at his Republican rival Sen. Marco Rubio and potential Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton on social media too.
“Just remember, the birther movement was started by Hillary Clinton in 2008. She was all in!,” Trump tweeted, in a reference to resurgent criticism of his own history of questioning whether President Barack Obama is indeed an American citizen. Trump reportedly refused to answer a question on the subject during his first appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” late on Tuesday.
Trump also called out “Marco ‘amnesty’ Rubio” for what he claimed is the “worst voting record in the Senate.”
Rubio, not unlike Carly Fiorina, has begun climbing in the polls in the wake of two straight strong debate performances. Some have speculated, including Fiorina herself, that the once formidable front-runner is cracking under the pressure of increased competition.
“It might seem that Donald Trump’s getting a little nervous,” the former Hewlett Packard CEO told reporters after a campaign event in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Tuesday. “I’m getting under his skin a little bit.”