The Fox News moderators were widely praised for their role in the first Republican debate Thursday night. In particular, Megyn Kelly was singled out for praise for her hard-hitting questions that used candidates’ previous statements and positions against them.
One of those candidates that were on the receiving end of Kelly’s tough questioning was businessman Donald Trump, who is currently the GOP frontrunner. Trump also complained of mistreatment by the other moderators, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace.
The first question of the night was asked by Baier. He asked, “Is there anyone on stage who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?” Trump was the only one to raise his hand.
Trump later complained that the question unfairly targeted him.
Later, Megyn Kelly asked Trump about his treatment of women, “Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However that is not without its downsides, in particular when it comes to women. You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals…”
Trump interrupted, “Only Rosie O’Donnell.” The applause and laughter to Trump’s retort caused Kelly’s response to get drowned out.
Later, Wallace asked Trump about the four bankruptcies that his company has gone through. Trump used his typical response that bankruptcy laws in the United States can be used effectively as a business strategy since they allow the company to shed many of its previous obligations.
After the debate, Trump railed against Fox News. He also criticized a frank Luntz and his focus group that weighed in on the debate. The focus group did not think highly of Trump. As usual, the GOP frontrunner took to Twitter to criticize the media. He also retweeted praise of himself and criticism of Fox News, especially Kelly. Of Kelly, Trump said she “really bombed” and “was not very good or professional.”
While attacking the media is often red meat to conservatives, Trump could be playing with fire here. Fox News is one of the most trusted news sources by conservatives and Kelly is one of the network’s most popular stars.