As Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump prepare to face off once more in a one-on-one interview airing Tuesday night on FOX, Trump is ready to defend his position as presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. The notoriety of the longstanding battle between Kelly and Trump should generate some pretty significant ratings, but the stakes run a lot higher than just the numbers. Donald Trump's interview with Megyn Kelly is his chance to prove that he has what it takes to be president, and he knows he has to be ready for it.
There are pretty much two scenarios that could go down during Tuesday night's interview. Either Trump keeps his cool and the feud is finished, or someone is provoked and it flares up again. Only one of those two possibilities is good for Trump, who has a vested interest in remaining composed now that he's cultivating a "presidential" persona.
Ostensibly, that means Kelly has the upper hand, because that means she can ask hard-hitting questions without Trump being able to rely on his standard angry retorts quite as much. However, Trump's unbridled talent for spinning his media coverage means any progress Kelly makes could be undone by his team and supporters online.
Trump already started his media strategy Tuesday morning, when he hopped on Twitter to spread the word about the upcoming interview: "I look forward to watching @megynkelly tonight, 8 p.m. ET. It will be interesting to see how she treats me—I think she will be very fair." Trump's particular phrasing of the tweet is interesting, as the interview is pre-recorded, but he refers to it as though it hasn't happened yet. Trump may be hoping to up viewership by pushing the prospect of a live interview, but those who are directed to the prime-time special from Trump's Twitter page will be disappointed with what they see.
Yet Trump's willingness to sit down with Kelly at all seems to show some growth in the unlikely presidential candidate. Kelly herself said that only after Trump had finally paused his sporadic slam session on Twitter did she reach out for the interview. “In April there was a lull in the tweet storm, and I seized on the opportunity [to contact him],” Kelly said on Good Morning America Monday. “I had been looking for months for just the right window to go in there. But every time I thought I was there, he’d start up again, whether it was boycotting the second Fox News debate or, you know, calling me crazy and sick after the third debate.” It seems Trump is starting to focus on the long game, on potentially rebuilding the bridges he burned during the primary season.
Trump's shift toward a more "presidential" attitude might be able to convince everyone of his viability in the Oval Office, but his interview with conservative sweetheart Kelly should help those on the bubble sway one way or the other. Trump knows that his chances of winning the presidency likely rest with revamping his divisive public persona, and restoring his relationship with Kelly could be the symbolic redemption he needs to push past Clinton in the polls. Tune in Tuesday night at 8:00 pm on FOX Broadcast to watch it all go down.