The Donald Trump - Megyn Kelly war is over. In a much-anticipated interview on the Fox network last night, Kelly was very smooth and Trump “could not have been nicer” she said later.
No mention was made of the presidential candidate’s remarks in an earlier debate when he seemed to suggest that Kelly might have been having her period.
Last night he responded to critics of his barbed campaign style by saying he never would have been successful in the primary race if he had acted “presidential” and held back on hitting his political rivals.
He declared that if he doesn’t win the election in November, he’ll consider his campaign a “complete waste.”
Without a victory then, he said, he won’t be able to lower taxes, strengthen the military or “make America great.”
“I will say this: If I don’t go all the way, and if I don’t win, I will consider it to be a total and complete waste of time, energy and money,” Trump said.
The candidate addressed a range of topics from his tone to his past clashes with the Fox News host.
Trump conceded that, in looking back, he “absolutely” has regrets, without going into detail. But he said if he hadn’t conducted himself in this way, he wouldn’t have come out on top.
“If I were soft, if I were presidential … in a way it’s a bad word, because there’s nothing wrong with being presidential, but if I had not fought back in the way I fought back, I don’t think I would have been successful,” he told Kelly.
Trump argued that he’s a “counter-puncher” who’s only responding to the attacks against him.
“I respond pretty strongly, but in just about all cases, I’ve been responding to what they did to me,” Trump said. “It’s not a one-way street.”
The interview followed an April meeting when Kelly went to meet the candidate at Trump Tower in New York City.
Before that meeting, the two had been at odds for months – dating back to a Fox News-hosted debate last August, when Trump accused “The Kelly File” host of asking him unfair questions.
Speaking with Kelly last night , Trump suggested the August debate actually helped prepare him for the battle ahead.
“In a certain way, what you did might have been a favor, because I felt so good about having gotten through -- I said, ‘If I could get through this debate, with those questions, you can get through anything,’” he said.
Trump pointed to that debate when asked at what moment he realized he might actually win the race. “I think that first debate meant something,” Trump said, adding that he felt comfortable with the subject matter and the people he was competing against.
At the same time, Trump tried to explain why he fired back at Kelly for confronting him about his past disparaging comments about women. “I thought it was unfair,” Trump said of the question, while noting it was the first question he’d ever been asked at a debate. “And I’m saying to myself, man, what a question.”
He added, “I don’t really blame you because you’re doing your thing, but from my standpoint, I don’t have to like it.”
As for his role in the presidential election in this year, Trump said: “I really view myself now as somewhat of a messenger… This is a massive thing that’s going on. These are millions and millions of people that have been disenfranchised from this country.”
In the interview with Kelly, Trump briefly discussed his personal life, and how his older brother Fred died after a battle with alcoholism. “I have never had a glass of alcohol,” he said, calling his brother’s death the “hardest thing for me to take.”
And while defending his tone on the campaign trail, Trump also said he takes “very seriously” the responsibility of the office he’s seeking.