Trump & Kelly's Relationship Is Complicated
The last time Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump faced off things got heated, to say the least, which is why so many of us are looking forward to Thursday's Republican debate, aka Round 2 of Kelly v. The Donald. Ever since Kelly called out Trump's consistently sexist comments, Trump has been spewing criticism (and misogyny) at Kelly and Fox News to the point that Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes asked him, "What the hell is wrong with you?" This tension escalated quickly, apparent by the fact that Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump's relationship has been a short one, albeit complicated.
Although Trump still dominates in the national polls, Ted Cruz isn't too far behind in Iowa. While Trump could afford to ostracize diehard Kelly fans last year, if he wants to expand his support within the GOP, and with women in general, it's not in his best interest to belittle one of Fox News' most recognizable personalities. Though Trump's approval rating among Republicans is just over half, Pew Research Center found that 88 percent of conservatives trust Fox News. It's likely many Republicans would choose Fox News over Trump, and I think The Donald knows that. As for Kelly, she'll probably continue to press Trump on his inflammatory remarks as she's done since her May 2015 interview with Trump before he announced his presidential run.
Kelly and Trump's relationship was largely non-existent before the feud kicked off at the first Republican debate, though according to Kelly's January interview with Vanity Fair, Trump tried to win her approval just before launching his 2016 run. Kelly said Trump occasionally called her to compliment her show, and sometimes sent her press clippings about herself. Kelly added:
I didn't know why he was doing that. And then when he announced that he was running for president, it became more clear. But I can't be wooed. I was never going to love him, and I was never going to hate him.
In the interview, Kelly presents herself as firm and unyielding — traits Trump probably wasn't expecting when he went into the first GOP debate. Since that exchange, Fox News released a statement saying Trump is scared of Megyn Kelly:
Sooner or later Donald Trump, even if he's president, is going to have to learn that he doesn't get to pick the journalists — we're very surprised he's willing to show that much fear about being questioned by Megyn Kelly.
The statement came hours after Trump told CNN that he would consider skipping Thursday's debate if he didn't get confirmation that Kelly would be fair to him. Of course, Trump wasn't the only one Kelly pressed in that first debate, but he didn't see it that way. He was unable to handle the tough and necessary questions Kelly posed in the first round, so I'll be interested to see if he retaliates the same way in round two. I doubt Kelly's questions will be any different, so it all comes down to whether or not Trump is interested in winning her supporters' votes.