Megyn Kelly says that Fox News contacted Donald Trump’s campaign after she received death threats from Trump supporters following their clash during the first Republican presidential debate.
And the Trump campaign’s initial response, according to Kelly, was a shrug.
Kelly told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Fox News executive vice president Bill Shine called Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, who had retweeted a message directed at Kelly that read, “Let’s gut her.”
“You’ve got to stop this,” Shine told Cohen, according to Kelly. “Like, we understand you are angry, but this is, you know, she’s got three little kids, she’s walking around New York, really.”
But Cohen “didn’t much care,” Kelly said.
According to Kelly, it was only after Shine put the threats toward Kelly in blunt terms that Team Trump backed off.
“Let me put it to you in terms you can understand,” Shine told Cohen. “If Megyn Kelly gets killed, it’s not going to help your candidate.”
During the first GOP primetime debate in Cleveland, Kelly, the co-moderator, opened by questioning Trump’s past comments about women.
“You called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” Kelly told Trump. “You once told a contestant on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.”
“Honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry,” Trump said. “I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be based on the way you have treated me, but I wouldn’t do that.”
In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon the next day, Trump appeared to suggest Kelly attacked him because she had her period.
“You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes,” he said. “Blood coming out of her, wherever.”
According to Kelly, she had spoken with Trump prior to the debate about a segment that he was unhappy with on her primetime show. At the end of the call, Kelly said, he threatened to go after her on social media.
“We had had a tough exchange on the Monday before that Thursday debate,” Kelly recalled. “He was angry about a segment I had done the prior week involving his divorce from Ivana Trump. … He was very angry that I aired that segment.”
“Ultimately, I said, ‘Look, Mr. Trump, you don’t control the editorial in ‘The Kelly File,’” Kelly continued. “And that was it. He said, ‘That’s it. You’re a disgrace. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.’ And then, he said, ‘Oh, I almost unleashed my beautiful Twitter account against you and I still may.’”