GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is escalating his war with Fox News. Trump announced on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 that he would not participate in their hosted Republican debate set for Thursday, Jan. 28. Trump withdrew his participation mostly because of debate moderator and Fox News star anchor Megyn Kelly, who Trump believes will treat him unfairly in this debate as she did in August during the first Republican debate. Now Trump is escalating the war using the word “bimbo” and calling Kelly a “lightweight” in a tweet on Wednesday morning, Jan. 27 as the cable news network and Trump’s feud over the debate descends into the insulting.
The Trump, Fox News war of words is getting more heated. On Wednesday morning, Trump took to Twitter to insult Kelly, in his most controversial comments about her since last August. Trump wrote, “I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!” Even if Trump said he would not call Kelly a bimbo, from his tweet he definitely implied that sentiment. The tweet was one of many geared towards the Fox News anchor.
For days, Trump hinted he was considering boycotting the debate. Speaking at a press conference in Marshalltown, Iowa Tuesday, Trump announced, “Mostly likely, I’m not going to do the debate. I’m going to have something else in Iowa…. We’re going to do something simultaneously with the debate. Let them have their debate.” Instead of attending the debate, Trump is planning a fundraising event for veterans for the Wounded Warrior Project. Trump also insulted Kelly at the rally, calling her a “lightweight” and a “third-rate reporter.”
Trump specifically pointed to a statement Fox News released earlier in the day, “I didn’t like the fact that they sent out press releases toying, talking about Putin and playing games. I don’t know what games Roger Ailes is playing or what’s wrong over there. But when they sent out that press release talking about it – I said what are these people, playing games? So most likely I won’t be doing the debate.”
Then Trump’s Campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski released a statement confirming Trump will not participate in the GOP debate. The statement read, Trump “will not be participating in the Fox News debate and will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians.” The statement was not without a jab at Fox News, “Unlike the very stupid, highly incompetent people running our country into the ground, Mr. Trump knows when to walk away. Roger Ailes and FOX News think they can toy with him, but Mr. Trump doesn’t play games.”
Fox News used their response statement to insult Trump and imply that his campaign has been threatening Kelly. Fox News expressed, “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 from the debate stage. Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards.”
Fox News also said they would not tolerate any threats from the Trump’s campaign, “In a call on Saturday with a Fox News executive, [Corey 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.'” Fox News continued, “Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so. We can’t give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees.”
Kelly also responded on her Fox News show and laughed at Trump because he “is not used to not controlling things… he doesn’t get to control the media.” Kelly also stood firm she would not drop out of moderating the debate confirming, “I’ll be there. The debate will go on, with or without Mr. Trump.”
The insults have been flying since Tuesday with when Trump threatened not to participate in the Fox News debate, the last one before the first nominating contest in Iowa. The insults have been on Twitter and on Fox News, with the network being an equal participate, using his GOP opponents and others reactions to mock Trump’s planned boycott, with the network essentially laughing at him.
Trump being his usual self, used Twitter for the battery of his insults, before announcing his debate decision, The frontrunner asked his followers “Should I do the #GOPdebate?” and then not listening to the 56 percent who said he should. When Fox News insulted him, Trump took the bait and responded.
Trump, however, decided to boycott after Fox News and chairman Roger Ailes released a statement mocking the GOP frontrunner that went too far. The sarcastic statement 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.”
All week Trump has been expressing concern that Kelly will be unfair to him during the debate, calling for Fox News to replace her as the moderator, which they declined. Tuesday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America Trump spoke of his indecision to appear on the debate to host George Stephanopoulos, “I don’t think she’s professional at all. She’s very biased against me. She knows that. I know that. Everybody knows that.” Later in the day, Trump posted a video on Instagram referring to Kelly’s bias against him before the fight became full blown and Trump decided to boycott.
Trump has been feuding with Kelly ever since the first GOP debate on Aug. 6 where she asked him about derogatory remarks he made in the past about women calling them “fat pigs” to “dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” Trump deemed her remarks unfair and biased, telling CNN “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” The remark caused an outrage, with accusations that Trump was being sexist. Trump clarified on ABC’s This Week that he was referring to blood coming from her nose when he said wherever, and not her female anatomy. The feud simmered in the intervening months and never entirely faded.
Trump and his campaign manager plan to televise his wounded warriors’ event, causing a TV bidding war. They are certain Fox news is going to be the ratings loser from Trump’s boycott. Trump said at his Tuesday press conference, “Let’s see how they do with the debate. Let’s see how many people watch.” Trump also challenged Fox News to donate the money they earn from the debate, “Why should the networks continue getting rich on these debates? Give some to the Wounded Warriors. You’re making a fortune. Let’s see how much money Fox is going to make on the debate without me, ok? Let’s see.”
While campaign manager Lewandowski told ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday morning, “When Donald Trump goes to Des Moines and we start raising money for veterans and wounded warriors and we have multiples of millions of dollars raised for these people and the American people tune in because they want to support that and Fox goes back and say they should have had 24 million watching their debate and instead they got 1 million, it’s a disservice to the American people.”
Fox News realizes they will lose out, tweeting to Trump Wednesday morning that he is “still welcome” to join the debate, “but he can’t dictate the moderators or the questions.” Fox is not holding their breaths; they are already planning to have one less podium on the debate stage.