Thursday’s Republican debate on Fox News Channel could be Round 2 of Megyn Kelly versus Donald Trump. But the journalist and fellow moderators say they are not preparing to stoke the fire with questions about his headline-grabbing battles with the network.
Trump accused Kelly of lobbing him tougher questions than those directed at his rivals in an August debate that was the Republican candidates’ first televised encounter. Kelly asked about Trump’s remarks about women, prompting a stream of attacks from the candidate, who skipped a Fox debate in January.
“Frankly, I have been ready for seven months to move beyond what happened after that August debate,” Kelly said in a recent interview. “I feel like it’s getting boring. Trump has bigger things to worry about, and so do I.”
The brash billionaire’s unfiltered style has helped generate unprecedented ratings for news networks including Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc
The cable channel’s August debate attracted 24 million viewers, a record for a presidential primary debate on any network, according to Nielsen. The January forum without Trump drew 12.5 million, still the second-largest audience in the network’s history.
Trump is set to appear at Thursday’s rematch with Fox News anchors Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace. “Mr. Trump will be at the debate tomorrow and looks forward to participating,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks said on Wednesday.
The moderators said they do not plan to mention Trump’s comments about Kelly, his complaints about unfair treatment by the cable news network or his absence from Fox’s January debate.
Kelly said she has not prepared a comeback if Trump gets personal. “I have my questions,” she said. “That’s all I need.”
Last week’s debate on Time Warner Inc’s
The three “seemed hell-bent on taking out each other on a lot of fairly minor points,” he said, “rather than discussing issues that affect people’s lives.”
On Tuesday, Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton took big steps toward securing their parties’ nominations with a series of state-by-state victories.
After 10 Republican debates, there remains plenty to explore because the five remaining candidates – Trump, Cruz, Rubio, John Kasich and Ben Carson – have now staked out positions, Kelly said.
“They will have to own those positions or try to wiggle out,” she said. “But there is not that much wiggle room left on some of these things.”
Cruz has clashed with Wallace on air and accused him of being too soft on Trump. The contenders “try to work the refs and complain and hope they will get it a little easier next time,” Wallace said.
All three moderators said they ask tough questions of each candidate. “I think Fox has been fair across the board,” Baier said.
He said he hopes for a discussion that is “fiery” but “the most substantive debate so far” as rivals try to score points.
“We will let the contrasts and the conversations between candidates go,” Baier said. “But there will be some balance. That’s what it’s always about, not letting it get off the rails.”
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Peter Henderson and Jonathan Oatis)
After Trump: No free pass for Republicans — they own this nightmare
With the impeachment inquiry leveling up this month as public hearings begin, and with an election that might actually be the end of Donald Trump now less than a year away, the campaign to let Trump's Republican allies — even the most villainous offenders — move on and pretend this never happened is already underway.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Sadly, the clearest articulation of the let-bygones-be-bygones mentality has come from a Democrat — unsurprisingly, former Vice President Joe Biden.Biden, who is still, somehow, the frontrunner in Democratic primary polling, spoke at a chi-chi fundraiser on Wednesday, and dropped this pearl of wisdom: "With Donald Trump out of the way, you’re going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany."
As climate crisis-fueled fires rage, fears grow of an ‘uninhabitable’ California
As activist Bill McKibben put it, "We've simply got to slow down the climate crisis."
With wildfires raging across California on Wednesday—and with portions of the state living under an unprecedented "Extreme Red Flag Warning" issued by the National Weather Service due to the severe conditions—some climate experts are openly wondering if this kind of harrowing "new normal" brought on by the climate crisis could make vast regions of the country entirely uninhabitable.
‘A profound emoluments clause violation’: Andrew Napolitano slams Trump’s hosting the G7 at Doral
In the wake of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's announcement this Thursday that next year's G7 summit will be hosted at President Trump's Doral golf club, Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano pointed out that Trump would be violating the emoluments clause if he were to go through with the move.
At the outset of the segment, Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto said that the announcement is "effectively saying the president has given himself this contract."