Fox news refused to give way to Donald Trump’s threats that he would ditch its live broadcast of the Republican presidential debate if news anchor Megyn Kelly was allowed to moderate, resulting in the controversial entrepreneur walking.
Trump attempted to use his ratings pull as leverage against Fox when the he announced that he would “most likely” skip Thursday’s debate.
“Let’s see how much money Fox is going to make on the debate without me,” he threatened at a recent news conference.
The 69 year-old has been vocal about his distain for journalist Kelly, an animus which stems back to the first presidential primary debate in August when she grilled him about his past comments denigrating women.
Fox News responded to Trump’s threat in a taunting statement on Monday which said it was “surprised he’s willing to show that much fear” about being questioned by Kelly.
A day later and the network’s president, Roger Ailes, confirmed that Kelly would “absolutely be on the debate stage.”
It even went so far as to mock two of Trump’s frequently cited rhetorical in another statement which read: “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.”
Trump responded to Fox saying: “With me, they’re dealing with somebody that’s a little bit different. They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else. So let them have their debate, and let’s see how they do with the ratings.”
Trump’s antics during lived televised debates and press conferences has generated much controversy and subsequently boosted his viewing figures. The standoff with Fox is not the first time that the Republican frontrunner has used his ratings pull against a news network. In December he told CCN that he would show up to their debate if the network donated $5m to a wounded veterans’ charity.