“What I say is what I say.”
That’s how presidential hopeful Donald Trump responded when FOX News star Megyn Kelly called into question his treatment of women earlier this month during the Republican debate. “Honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry,” he added. “I’ve been very nice to you, although I could maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me.”
Well, Trump seems to have taken that latter half to heart. Following the debate, he has said he has “no respect for her,” called Kelly “highly overrated,” said she is bad at her job, and said she “has blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her...wherever.” (Trump claimed by “whatever,” he meant “nose and or ears.”)
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Kelly refused to engage Trump, and took a vacation from her show, The Kelly File, shortly after the GOP debate. On Monday night, she returned and Trump -- who says he’s “always been good to women” -- reignited his one-sided feud, tweeting:
“@megynkelly must have had a terrible vacation, she is really off her game," the 69-year-old businessman wrote. "Was afraid to confront Dr. Cornel West. No clue on immigration! I liked The Kelly File much better without @megynkelly. Perhaps she could take another eleven day unscheduled vacation!”
Trump then retweeted posts calling Kelly a “bimbo,” amongst other insults:
And while not about the 44-year-old journalist, he retweeted this too, which is...not great:
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The backlash against Trump over his latest unprovoked attack on Kelly has been swift. Even his fellow Republicans spoke out in support of Kelly:
“He did something totally out of control yesterday,” FOX & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade continued on air Tuesday morning. “Totally unwarranted. Professionally and personally. You cannot, should not be going after her. And that actually bothers me personally. And we are all friends with Donald Trump but, he is totally out of bounds reigniting that fight. I don’t know if he’s trying to get ratings out of that or poll numbers but, he’s not going to be successful.”
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Meanwhile, FOX News Chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, released a statement calling Trump’s attack both “unacceptable” and “disturbing,” and went on to ask the notoriously unapologetic presidential candidate to apologize.
Ailes' full statement reads:
“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.”
Now, watch Jimmy Fallon’s spot-on Trump impression while discussing the Megyn Kelly controversy: