One of former President Donald Trump’s all-time debate combatants, Megyn Kelly, told Newsmax her former rival is a “ratings machine” and Fox News deserves the double middle finger for the first two debates.
“There’s a reason the ratings shot up to 25 million when Trump appeared at that first Fox News debate back in August of 2015,” Kelly told “Eric Bolling The Balance” on Tuesday, just weeks after saying she and Trump have buried the hatchet over their contentious sparring in that Aug. 6, 2015, debate.
“Say what you will about Trump. You cannot argue the guy’s a ratings machine. There’s proof positive of it in every corner.”
Fox News and Fox Business are not going to draw the viewers they could have if the network did not remain so at odds with the former president, Kelly told host Eric Bolling.
“Without him, I think they’ll suffer,” she said. “I think they’ll be boosted somewhat by the fact that those people on the stage are going to be talking a lot about guess who? Donald Trump.
“And he’s interesting to talk about, even if he’s not there, so that will be somewhat of a boon to them. It would be worse if he were not even in this race, ratings-wise.”
But Trump is justified in penalizing Fox News Channel for its favoring other candidates over him.
“This is definitely a middle finger by Trump to Fox News and Fox Business, which have the first two debates,” she continued. “And he’s said he doesn’t think that they treat him very fairly, and he doesn’t want to go and really boost their ratings.”
The first 2024 GOP presidential primary debate Wednesday night in Milwaukee, will be without Trump and without intrigue, according to Kelly.
“I think it’s going to feel a lot like 2012,” she said. “It’s like before we had Trump. We had to do this with regular candidates who weren’t that exciting to watch and wanted to talk about policy.”
There is a bit of irony in Kelly’s comments, considering she was the first debate moderator Trump had called out for having debated him instead of allowing him to debate his challengers.
“Can anyone deny that Trump has been, I mean that Fox has been in the bag for [Ron] DeSantis for the past year? It’s obvious to anybody who’s turned on the channel for two minutes,” she said. “And so why shouldn’t he be angry? I’d be ticked off, too. The only reason they’re now giving Trump any sort of fair shake is because he bent them to his will.”
At this point, Fox News needs Trump and not vice versa, according to Kelly.
“Fox News has no existence if he becomes the nominee and they continue this, right?” she continued. “They’ll lose every single one of their viewers, so they know that they’re going to need to get on board a little bit more than they have been with their coverage.
“I don’t blame him for being irritated.”