Republican front-runner and former Apprentice star Donald Trump is once again making headlines, this time for eschewing the next scheduled Republican debate because he does not want Fox News host Megyn Kelly to moderate it. According to a recent statement released by Fox News, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski threatened Megyn Kelly and attempted to terrorize her through barely concealed threats.
“In a call on Saturday with a Fox News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn ‘had a rough couple days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so.”
In conclusion, the network stated, “We can’t give into terrorizations toward any of our employees.”
According to the statement, Trump and his campaign spent four days desperately lobbying to have Kelly replaced as a moderator for the debate, but the network refused to give in to his demands.
“Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards,” the network said.
The feud between Trump and Kelly began last August, during the first Republican debate, when Kelly took Trump to task for making sexist remarks against women. Trump took offense to the questioning, saying it was unfair, and the situation escalated when the presidential candidate began sending out a series of tweets attacking the Fox News host. The feud took an even darker turn when Trump infamously said that Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her — wherever.” Trump later claimed “wherever” referred to her nose, but many took it as yet another example of Trump making a misogynistic attack against a woman.
Instead of joining the rest of the Republican candidates at the GOP debate on Tuesday, Trump’s campaign says that Trump will instead be raising money for wounded veterans.
“Like running for office as an extremely successful person, this takes guts and it is the kind of mentality our country needs in order to Make America Great Again,” the campaign said.
Fox News noted that Iowans may not take the fact that Trump has removed himself from the debate very well.
“We’re not sure how Iowans are going to feel about him walking away from them at the last minute, but it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing – Megyn Kelly, whom he has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage. Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski toward Megyn Kelly.”
Trump is still welcome to join the debate, Fox News says, “but he can’t dictate the moderators or the questions.”
The latest statement is much different, with a markedly serious tone, in comparison to the initial statement Fox News released in regards to Trump skipping out on the debate.
“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”
Writing on Twitter, Trump scathingly dismissed the first statement from Fox News as a “pathetic attempt by @foxnews to try and build up ratings for the #GOPDebate. Without me they’d have no ratings!”
As for Megyn Kelly, she has no intention of backing away from moderating the GOP debate on Tuesday night.
“Trump is not used to not controlling things,” she said. “But the truth is, he doesn’t get to control the media.”
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]