After Republican frontrunner Donald Trump unleashed another wave of attacks at Fox News host Megyn Kelly, the network responded in force Tuesday. First, Fox News head Roger Ailes released a strong statement that blasted Trump and called on him to apologize to Kelly. Although Ailes did acknowledge that Trump almost never apologizes:
“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.”
Fox News personalities also backed Kelly on Twitter. The support ranged from tepid to full force, however. In reference to Trump’s followers that he retweets, senior political analyst Brit Hume tweeted, “Is this guy a seven year old?” Primetime host Sean Hannity told Trump, his “friend,” to focus on other topics. “My friend @realDonaldTrump has captured the imagination of many. Focus on Hillary, Putin, border, jobs, Iran China & leave @megynkelly alone,” he tweeted. These were only two of the many tweets that Fox News personalities sent out, all coming roughly around the same time.
Trump did respond to Fox’s attacks back and dismissed them, pointing to his favorable polling:
“I totally disagree with the FOX statement. I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist. I think her questioning of me, despite all of the polls saying I won the debate, was very unfair. Hopefully in the future I will be proven wrong and she will be able to elevate her standards to a level of professionalism that a network such as FOX deserves.
More importantly, I am very pleased to see the latest polls from Public Policy Polling showing me at a strong number one with 35% in New Hampshire, the Monmouth University poll showing me, again at number one, with 30% in South Carolina and the latest national poll from Gravis where I am again the clear front runner with 40%. It was also just announced that I won the prestigious corn kernel poll at the Iowa State Fair by a landslide.
I will be in Iowa tonight with my speech being live on CNN and other networks. My sole focus in running for the Presidency is to Make America Great Again!”