Fox News host Megyn Kelly responded Sunday to criticism about her performance during Thursday’s Republican presidential primary debate, criticism led first and foremost by front-runner Donald Trump.
“It’s OK, I’m a big girl,” Kelly told colleague Howard Kurtz. “I can take it.”
Unhappy with the line of questioning, Trump took to social media after the debate to call the Fox News host a “bimbo,” saying she “bombed tonight.”
Kelly explained in a pre-taped interview with Kurtz that aired Sunday on Fox News’ “Media Buzz” that she and colleagues Bret Baier and Chris Wallace were “trying to drill down to [the candidates] most vulnerable areas and then give them a chance to explain them.”
They focused on issues that would come up in the primary election or the general election, with Kelly saying later that as debate moderators, their goal was to hit the candidates “as hard as we can at this stage.”
Video: Here’s what made Trump so mad at Megyn Kelly
“If you can’t get past me, how are you gonna handle Vladimir Putin?” she said.
Kelly rejected the idea by some critics that she had an agenda, saying, “I don’t think that my history as a journalist supports bias on my part towards either party.”
As for “The Donald,” Kelly struck a conciliatory tone.
“When it comes to somebody like Donald Trump who complained, that’s fine,” she said. “This was a big night for him, and it was the first time he ever participated in a presidential debate.”
Kelly said she understood nerves were high for all the candidates and that Trump felt he was attacked.
“It wasn’t an attack, it was a fair question,” Kelly said. “But I get it, he’s in the arena and so am I. So it’s OK with me that there’s some consternation. I’m sure he’ll get over that and we’ll be fine, and so will America.”
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