Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly finally talked on Tuesday night about their raucous, contentious history over the last nine months. And it appears that things are all patched up. "I like our relationship right now," Mr Trump said in the interview.
It was a convivial, easygoing interview that was taped more than two weeks ago for Kelly's first prime-time special on Fox, Megyn Kelly Presents. Kelly has not been shy about the purpose of the special: With Barbara Walters retired, she has said that she hopes to fill the vacuum of the prime-time host conducting the must-watch interview.
Fox increased the exposure by presenting the show on its broadcast network, not the Fox News cable network, on which Kelly appears on weeknights.
Kelly’s contract with Fox News is set to expire in a little more than a year, and it is an open question whether she will stay. She said the prime-time special gave her an opportunity to flex “different muscles”. The interview broadcast on Tuesday was decidedly not about policy. In keeping with the tradition of Walters’ prime-time specials over the years, Kelly took a more personal approach and asked Trump about his divorces, his brother’s alcoholism and his favourite movie and whether he was bullied as a child.
She also asked him about their relationship. “Let’s talk about us,” Kelly said, then asked Trump about her first question to him in the first Republican debate in August. At the time, Kelly asked about Trump’s treatment of women, saying, “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs’, ‘dogs’, ‘slobs’ and ‘disgusting animals’.”
Trump said in the interview that the question had not gone over well with him. “That’s the first question that I have ever been asked during a debate,” he told Kelly. “And I am saying to myself, ‘Man, what a question.’”
Trump said he felt it had not been fair, before Kelly jumped in: “You know, it’s not a cocktail party,” she said. Trump acknowledged that the debate “might have been a favour” to him by preparing him for the worst. He also suggested that it was the first moment he realised he could have a realistic shot at the presidency.
“I think that first debate meant something, because I felt very, very comfortable with the subject and I felt very comfortable with the people I was competing against,” he said. He also said that if he does not win, “I will consider it to be a total and complete waste of time, energy and money”.
Kelly tried to ask whether anyone had ever hurt him “emotionally”. “When I am wounded, I go after people hard, okay?” he said. “And I try and un-wound myself.”
In addition to Trump, Kelly interviewed Laverne Cox, Michael Douglas, and OJ Simpson's former lawyer, Robert Shapiro. But it was Trump who got the most airtime. Over the last nine months, Trump's attacks on Kelly (and on Fox News) have been one of the more intriguing sideshows of the presidential campaign. After the first debate, Trump famously said that Kelly had "blood coming out of her wherever", a comment widely interpreted as referring to menstruation.
He skipped the second Fox News debate because of Kelly’s involvement, and took to calling her “Crazy Megyn” on Twitter. Then, in April, Kelly made a trip to Trump Tower to discuss his coming on for the special.
In the final segment of the special, Kelly asked Trump some "rapid-fire questions", including inquiries about his favourite book (All Quiet on the Western Front) and movie (Citizen Kane). The interview ended cordially, each saying, "Thank you very much," along with a firm handshake.
Trump seemed plenty pleased with it. And after the special, he tweeted, in part: “Well, that is it. Well done Megyn – and they all lived happily ever after!”
New York Times