The rift between GOP front runner Donald Trump and right-wing cable station Fox News is growing deeper.
According to the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, Trump’s spokesman, Corey Lewandowski, threatened debate moderator and Fox News host Megyn Kelly. Trump abruptly announced he would not participate in the Fox-hosted GOP primary debate, scheduled for Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.
The debate will be held three days before votes are to be cast in the Iowa caucus, according to a statement by Fox News sent to Wemple.
“Donald Trump is refusing to debate seven of his fellow presidential candidates on stage that night, which is near unprecedented,” the statement reads. “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 form the debate stage.”
The statement went on to say that Lewandowski made threats toward Kelly, with whom Trump tangled in the first Fox News GOP debate.
“In a call last Saturday with a Fox News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.'” Lewandowski was warned not to make any more threats but continued, the statement reads. “We can’t give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees… [Trump] can’t dictate the moderators or the questions.”
After the first debate in August, Trump complained on CNN that he thought Megyn Kelly was unfair to him.
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” Trump told CNN host Don Lemon at the time. “In my opinion, she was off-base.”