Thehill.com reports that
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday night lashed out at Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly in his first appearance on the network since he announced he’d boycott the next GOP debate.
He also refused to reconsider his decision to sit out the network’s Thursday night debate – the last before the Iowa caucuses in five days – and said he’d move forward with his own competing event to raise money for wounded veterans.
Speaking on “The O’Reilly Factor,” Trump continued his long-running feud with Kelly, who he has been criticizing ever since she challenged him on his past derogatory remarks about women at the first GOP debate in August.
“I have zero respect for Megyn Kelly,” Trump said. “I don’t think she’s good at what she does and I think she’s highly overrated. And frankly, she’s a moderator; I thought her question last time was ridiculous.”
Kelly is also set to moderate Thursday night’s debate on Fox News.
Trump is instead holding a rally in Des Moines at the same time as the Republican debate that he says will raise money for wounded veterans.
In the contentious interview with O’Reilly, Trump rebuffed the anchor’s attempts to convince him that he’s making a grave error by skipping the debate.
“I believe personally that you want to improve the country,” O’Reilly said. “By doing this, you miss the opportunity to convince others … that is true.
“You have in this debate format the upper hand — you have sixty seconds off the top to tell the moderator, ‘You’re a pinhead, you’re off the mark and here’s what I want to say’. By walking away from it, you lose the opportunity to persuade people you are a strong leader.”
But O’Reilly’s pitch fell flat with Trump. The GOP front-runner dug in his heels, insisting he intended to retaliate against the network by depriving them of ratings.
“Fox was going to make a fortune off this debate,” Trump said. “Now they’re going to make much less.”
O’Reilly said he was merely trying to convince Trump that his approach “is wrong because it’s better for people to see you in the debate format.”
He gave the example from 2012, when former Speaker Newt Gingrich was asked an embarrassing question by a CNN debate moderator at a South Carolina debate about allegations he had an open marriage.
Gingrich shut the moderator down and went on to win South Carolina, O’Reilly noted.
“That’s the kind of guy you are,” O’Reilly said. “You stick it to them and let them have it.”
Responded Trump: “Newt is a friend of mine and I thought it was an unfair question. But equally unfair was the question Megyn Kelly asked me.”
O’Reilly then sought to appeal to Trump’s capacity to forgive, reminding the billionaire businessman that he’s a Christian, even if he doesn’t attend church all that often, and that the Bible says to “turn the other cheek.”
Trump shot back, saying he’s a regular church-goer, and that the Bible also says “an eye for an eye.”
“You could look at it that way too,” Trump said.
O’Reilly accused Trump of being “petty,” and said he was allowing things that are out of his control to have outsized influence over his decision-making process.
“I don’t like being taken advantage of,” Trump said. “In this case I was being taken advantage of by Fox. I don’t like that. Now when I’m representing the country, if I win, I’m not going to let our country be taken advantage of. … It’s a personality trait but I don’t think it’s a bad personality trait.”
O’Reilly ended the interview asking Trump to just at least consider showing up Thursday night. Trump said the two had agreed beforehand that O’Reilly not ask that question.
“I told you up front don’t ask me that question because it’s an embarrassing question for you and I don’t want to embarrass you,” he said.
Bill-O asked the question because his employers are desperate.
Fox News Host Greta Van Susteren posted a Viewer Poll in which she asked if folks would watch tonight’s Republican Primary Debate, if Donald J. Trump followed through with his promise not to show up.
As of the morning of the debate, 86.91% of those who responded will not be watching a “Trump-less” Debate.
Rush Limbaugh, as I reported yesterday, has been on point during this whole kerfuffle.
Once again, he made a couple of spot-on observations on yesterday’s radio program:
Folks, I want to let you in on another observation of mine — and that’s all it is, is an observation. I have found, when talking to people, including media people in the East Coast, New York — well, all the way up and down the East Coast, but New York — Washington, Boston, down here in south Florida and so forth, virtually everybody thinks of Fox News as a conservative network. But you go out… As I’ve traveled around and go places… Like for the holidays, I see people in Missouri. For Christmas, I see people all over the place. When I golf, I see people all over the country.
And I’m here to tell you: Fox News is not considered the conservative network that it used to be. I’m not trying to stir anything up here. I’m saying that when you hear the media, who are all leftists, talk about Fox News, it may as well be the John Birch Society as far as they’re concerned. That’s why they hate it. It may as well be the Birchers. It may as well be whatever evil right-wing organization. That’s what they think it is. But you go out to the heartland of this country, and it’s not so much. “I mean, what would a conservative network be doing giving time to Michael Moore?
“Why would New York Times and Washington Post reporters be on the air to give opinions on a conservative network?” This is what people are saying out there that I hear. Now, the identity is still pretty obviously heavily tilted to news and analysis that you don’t get anywhere else, and that remains true. I’m just telling you people’s perceptions as they share them with me. I’ll tell you what I think, ’cause I find it amazing. It’s just more evidence of the media being out of touch and not really knowing what people say.
Since we’re talking about Iowa, I don’t think they really know what’s important to the people of Iowa. Because they look at everything through their own prism of being in the Northeast and part of the liberal power structure that determines every social, political structure in that part of the country — and, as such, there’s a divide. And it’s not just among elected officials. I speak constantly about the disconnect that exists now between elected officials and the people, Republican and Democrat.
The distances, the disconnect between the people who vote for them and the people that serve in office is bigger than I’ve ever seen it. And it’s no more obvious than the issue of immigration. But it’s also obvious on the issue of say, Obamacare, or spending. And when you start talking about Fox News, people in the media say, “Oh, it’s just embarrassing. Right wing! My God, ugh.” But it’s not thought of that way in many parts of the country.
You’ve heard the phrase “the game.” Every business has aspects of it that are considered the game, and that’s the routine. And the game is characterized by everybody knowing the rules of the game. People involved in it play by the rules. Some venture outside now and then, but the rules pretty much of the game are adhered to because it’s a matter of respect for the game in which everybody is in.
And in this business one of the games is that when the media calls, you answer, and when the media wants you, you go, and when the media is going to host a debate and it’s part of a Republican presidential campaign, you go. You just do it, no matter what the media’s done to you in the past, no matter what you think of it, whether you want to go or not, you go. That’s the game.
Trump is so far outside this game, he’s so far outside the rules, he’s never been a player in this game. He’s always been an outsider. I heard people on Fox last night talking about this. “Who does he think he is? He can’t control the media.” I got news for you: He is controlling the media, and it’s his objective. He is controlling the media. He controls the media when he’s not on it. He controls the media when he is on it. He controls the media when he’s asleep. Nobody else has been able to do anything like this short of the Kennedys, and they’re pikers compared to the way Trump is doing this.
Now, it’s very simple, if you read The Art of the Deal or if you know Donald Trump at all, it’s very simple: He had an unpleasant experience in the first debate, and in his mind, the question that he was asked was rigged. Don’t forget, before that first debate, remember all of the news stories that were floating around saying that that debate, somebody at Fox had been given orders by the Republican establishment to take Trump out. Remember that? There were any number of so-called sources for this. Some said it was the donors demanding it. Some said that it was Fox News executives demanding it. Some said it was the RNC demanding it.
Well, Trump’s not immune. He hears it. And even if he hadn’t heard it he would have to know that they want to take him out; he’s outside the game; he’s breaking all the rules. He’s exposing so much as fraud that has gone on inside the American political process for so long they can’t allow somebody like this to win and succeed. It’s quite natural they would want to take him out as well. It’s Bengals-Steelers time here, folks. It’s quite natural they’d want to take him out. Well, he heard it.
Here comes Megyn Kelly’s first question. He didn’t hear anybody else get a question like that. He never sees Hillary Clinton get a question like that. He never hears Bill Clinton or another Democrat get a question like that. So he answers it and says screw this. I’m not putting myself in that position again. Why should I? I don’t have to.
But the rules of the game say when there’s a debate, you show up. Screw the rules, he’s saying. Why should I willingly give them another shot at me in a circumstance they control, why should I do it? What’s the sense in it for me? I’m leading; I’m running the pack here; why in the world should I put myself in that circumstance? I’ve already seen what’s gonna happen.
I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that. I mean, there could be some personal things going on here that I don’t know about. But just from the standpoint of knowing Trump, reading his book, and seeing how he operates elsewhere, in his mind, screw the rules, screw what’s expected, screw “This is just the way you do it.” I’m not gonna put myself in a position go where I’m gonna be treated unfairly. I don’t have to. I’m Donald Trump. Anybody can do this. Ted Cruz could choose to do it if he wants to. They just don’t. Cruz and the rest of the pack are playing the rules of the game. Trump is saying I don’t have to do it. I don’t want to do it. I don’t have any respect for these people. What the hell.
In addition to that, Donald Trump knows that by not showing up, he’s owning the entire event. Some guy not even present will end up owning the entire event, and the proof of that is Fox News last night. I have to tell you, folks, this is where this gets tough for me. I was stunned watching Fox News last night. Fox News was acting like they had been jilted at the altar. If it had been me — and this is easy to say — if it had been me and Donald Trump makes a big to-do about not showing up for the debate, report the story and move on. Talk about Ted Cruz. Go talk about the other candidates. Go talk about Hillary and the FBI. There’s a lot of news out there. But don’t devote the rest of the night to how a candidate’s not showing up because of you. I mean, the network, not just Megyn Kelly.
Look, I understand the warfare that has been established here. If you look at some of the things that Trump’s campaign spokesman, Corey Lewandowski has said, if you read between the lines, it looks like what really has ticked ’em off over at Trump central is the mocking of Trump in the official PR statements that Fox has released, making fun, they’re gonna call Putin, they’re gonna call in the ayatollah, and the ayatollah and Putin, whatever. That might have been the nail in the coffin as opposed to any lack of desire to face Megyn Kelly. But folks, one other thing about this. If I heard it once last night, I’ve heard it a thousand times since, that Trump is afraid of Megyn Kelly or afraid of Fox News. That is not what this is. There isn’t any fear. What is there is here — in my opinion — is a desire to control this and a purposeful decision to not put himself in a circumstance where other people want to make him look bad.
In his mind, that’s a dumb thing to do. You don’t put yourself in a circumstance where a whole bunch of other people are gonna be able to make you look bad while you’re there. If they do it when you’re not around, that’s another thing, you can counterprogram it, you can do whatever, but you don’t have to put yourself in a circumstance where you have to personally deal with it as a sign of disrespect or somebody else trying to notch their belt. It really isn’t any more complicated than that.
It was a sound business decision. He was protecting his “brand”. The “Business of Today’s Politics” decrees that you jump when the Elite of your Political Party and their minions in the Media tell you to. That is the game to which Rush was referring.
The problem that the Republican Elite and the Media are having with Trump is the simple fact that he is a Businessman. He is not a Professional Politician. Trump knew that he was walking into a trap. So, he made the decision not to. It was a sound Business Decision. He was protecting his “brand”, while at the same time, once again owning the News Cycle.
Additionally, through appearing on behalf of the Iowa Veterans, he is solidifying his Populist Image.
Another Republican Presidential Hopeful, back in the 1980s, decided to skip the last Primary Debate before the Iowa Caucus. He lost Iowa, but he won the Presidency in a landslide.
He did alright.
Ratings-wise, Fox News, if Trump goes through with his plans, will be hoisted on their own petard.
My degree is in Radio, Television, and Film. And, let me tell you, boys and girls, in television, even now, almost 36 years after I graduated college, high viewership ratings remain the Cash Cow of the Television Industry.
Their business depends on it.
In this situation, those who run Fox News decided to send their Cash Cow to the slaughterhouse and then hold a barbeque.
As a result of their actions, I predict that they will experience a bad case of gas tonight.
Until He Comes,