In a surprising turn of events this election season, Megyn Kelly interviewed Donald Trump one-on-one and held the presumptive Republican nominee accountable for his views. From the very first GOP debate, Trump seemed to have it out for Fox News' Kelly. Trump's immediate hatred of Kelly can likely be chalked up to two things: she's a woman, and a woman who dares to ask questions (forget that that's her primary job as a journalist). Trump refused to let his anger go, and what resulted was a barrage of attacks against the Fox News reporter. Now, Kelly has asked Trump to appear on her show for an interview that will surely prove to be just as fascinating as the two television personalities themselves.
The feud between the two began with a reasonable question — how could Republicans seriously back a candidate who has made such disparaging remarks against women? Kelly brought this up during the first Republican debate, when candidates were asked to address their electability. This question wasn't completely out of line with Trump's current reality; plenty of top GOP officials are hesitant or outright refusing to back the real estate mogul, in part because of the heinous comments he's made over the primary season.
But since that moment at the debate, Trump has attacked Kelly relentlessly, suggesting that her ability to perform her job is dictated by her period, and that her show's ratings are entirely dependent on Trump himself. Yet Kelly says she's ready to put that moment at the debate and the ensuing attacks behind her, going so far as to scheduling a meeting with the candidate at Trump Tower. She then pitched to have him appear on her Fox News' show.
Surprisingly, Trump agreed to the on-air interview. The journalist previewed the exchange between herself and Trump on ABC's Live with Kelly and Michael. During the sneak peak of the interview, Kelly pointedly asked the Republican candidate, "Was [your anger] real, or was that strategy?" Trump replies:
Well, I’m a real person. I don’t say, ‘Oh gee, I’m angry tonight, but tomorrow you’re my best friend.’ ...[Conflict] could happen again between us, even during this particular interview. I have great respect that you were able to call me and say, ‘Let’s get together and let’s talk.’ To me, I would not have done that.
Kelly says this is the most significant moment of the entire interview. Just this small exchange seems to say a lot, too, because based on this statement, Trump appears largely unable to let go of his anger, justified or not. If he's unable to solve a feud with a journalist diplomatically, admitting that he would have not reached out to Kelly himself, how can voters expect any different with foreign leaders? The consequences of Trump's comments extend far outside his war of words with Kelly.
The Fox News journalist also mentioned that Trump forced her to work outside of the usual parameters of her job, putting her on "the playing field" when she would rather be "on the sidelines." This is another significant takeaway — voters have seen Trump implement this strategy time and time again with fellow members of his party. Republicans are constantly having to reconsider their position within the GOP now that Trump has made such a disturbance among party lines. Should he become president, he would have to live with the reality that he would not always be able to manipulate where people stand on issues.
Kelly certainly proves herself as the bigger person among the two. By engaging with Trump after being relentlessly attacked by him, she shows that she can take on the candidate regardless of his charges. Should Trump move forward into the general election, hopefully other GOP officials and voters can do the same.
The full interview will air in a FOX Broadcast special, "Megyn Kelly Presents," on May 17 at 8 p.m.