Saturday 22 October 2016

Donald Trump calls uneasy truce with journalist Megyn Kelly after TV interview

Published 18/05/2016 | 16:01

Donald Trump famously clashed with Megyn Kelly in the first Republican TV debate (AP)
Donald Trump famously clashed with Megyn Kelly in the first Republican TV debate (AP)

Donald Trump and journalist Megyn Kelly, who he clashed with when she was moderating a Republican presidential candidate television debate last year, appear to have called a truce.

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The two sat down for an interview that was the culmination of the frequent sparring between the now-presumptive Republican presidential nominee and one of the biggest stars on the conservative-friendly Fox News US TV channel.

It was recorded last month and broadcast on Tuesday night.

Their fight began last August, in the first Republican debate, when Ms Kelly asked Mr Trump several tough questions, including one about how he has publicly talked about women. Mr Trump kept the feud going over Twitter for months after the debate.

But the billionaire businessman appeared sheepish in the interview when Ms Kelly asked him about some of the insults he tweeted - or retweeted - to her, frequently including the word "bimbo".

"Uh, that was a retweet. Did I say that?" Mr Trump asked.

"Many times," Ms Kelly responded.

"Ooh. OK," said Mr Trump, who insisted that he did not want his Twitter followers bombarding Ms Kelly with ugly social media posts.

Ms Kelly made a secret visit to Trump Tower in April to negotiate the interview.

Mr Trump praised her pursuing the interview, saying he had "great respect" for Ms Kelly's willingness to make the initial approach.

He also became introspective at times, saying "he could have done without" his retweet of a post that mocked the appearance of Heidi Cruz, the wife of his former rival Ted Cruz.

"The thing that gets me in trouble is the retweet," Mr Trump said. "The retweet is really more of a killer than a tweet. I seem to do pretty well with the real tweet."

But he defended most of his attacks as counter-punching and "not bullying".

"When I'm wounded, I go after people hard. I try to un-wound myself," said Mr Trump.

"I'm responding," he added. "Now, I then respond times 10, I don't know. I then respond pretty strongly."

At the conclusion of the interview, Mr Trump tweeted: "Well done Megyn - and they all lived happily ever after!" But he told Ms Kelly that he sometimes stays angry and appeared to hint that their feud could reignite.

"This could happen again with us," he said.

But the encounter lacked any of the fiery denunciations Mr Trump has been firing at Ms Kelly since the night of the first debate, beginning with a tweet that declared Ms Kelly was "not very good or professional".

Mr Trump did not participate in the second Fox News-sponsored debate because of Ms Kelly and kept up a steady stream of insults on Twitter.

He accused Ms Kelly of telling "dopey lies" and said her TV programme was better when she was on holiday. He later called her "highly overrated and crazy", and retweeted a follower who branded her a "bimbo" and called for a boycott of her show.

Ms Kelly, meanwhile, told Vanity Fair she could never be intimidated or "be wooed" by the celebrity businessman and insisted her coverage of Mr Trump was fair.

Even as the feud continued, Mr Trump enjoyed mostly warm coverage from other hosts at Fox News. Ms Kelly is in the final year of her contract with the network and has been non-committal about returning.

Mr Trump had pledged to live-tweet the taped interview on Tuesday night but instead largely engaged with followers who praised the show, all while insisting the interview "was not soft at all!" He also posted "I like Michael Douglas!" in praise of one of the other guests on Ms Kelly's hour-long TV special.

Press Association

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