In a lengthy interview with PBS’s “Frontline,” former Fox News and NBC News personality Megyn Kelly reflected on how Donald Trump captured the attention of the media early on in his candidacy and throughout his 2016 presidential campaign. She noted that she was and is particularly perplexed by her one-time NBC colleagues Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, hosts of the MSNBC “Morning Joe” program.
“MSNBC, I mean, the morning show over there now hates Trump’s guts,” said Kelly, “and every day they’re out there attacking him. But they were part of the reason he became the Republican nominee. You know, Joe Scarborough and Mika, they loved Trump, they promoted Trump every day. I remember watching it thinking, ‘Wow, what is it about Trump that got them on board so early?’… I mean, he liked them, and he went on their show, so I really don’t know. They were down in Mar-a-Lago and so on.”
She speculated it was all about ratings, saying: “… of course he boosted their ratings. He boosted CNN’s ratings. I mean the ‘Today Show’ used to take phoners from Trump once a week, all right? It wasn’t just ‘Fox & Friends’ putting him on back when he was on ‘The Apprentice.’
“‘The Today Show’ was allowing a presidential candidate to do a phoner once a week,” said Kelly. “… Because he rates, that’s why. It’s mercenary.”
Regarding “Morning Joe,” Kelly pointed out, “Trump was very good at cultivating relationships. And trust me, he tried to cultivate a relationship with me too, but I was a journalist and I understood I needed to keep him at arm’s length, like you do all the candidates.”
Offering a perspective on the traditional role of news people, she said: “It is at its heart, an adversarial relationship, you know, that of a politician and a reporter.”
“[President Trump] has been a huge boon to cable news, all news,” Kelly conceded.
Watch a portion of the interview, done for an upcoming PBS documentary “America’s Great Divide: From Obama to Trump” …
Video by PBS
Of course, much of the Kelly interview was about her “adversarial” relationship with Trump that arose out of their memorable clash during the first Republican debate in the summer of 2015. It was during that debate that she asked him about his comments about and treatment of women.
Following the public feud between the two that went on for months, Kelly lost her standing with conservatives and has since been a bit of a pariah without credibility or support from either conservatives or liberals.
Still, Kelly went out of her way during the interview to defend Trump as she compared him to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. “Look, Trump does not have an adult relationship with the truth,” she said.
But she contrasted Trump’s “lies” as “puffery about himself” while saying Obama’s “lie” about the Affordable Care Act—“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”—as far more harmful. “It’s as if he said, ‘You’re not going to get cancer’ and then they did!” she said.
Near the conclusion of the interview, Kelly ridiculed the left for claiming Trump’s presidency is an “existential” threat to America.
“I just don’t buy into this catastrophic, ‘the nation will never be the same!’” as she rolled her eyes. “We’ll be fine,” she declared.
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