Now that Megyn Kelly has gotten Donald Trump to agree to an interview, there are already signs that she has softened her stance on him. Last night’s interview with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was a good example.
In her opening question, Kelly asked Wasserman Schultz to comment on Trump’s claim that if and when he becomes the presidential nominee, he will put certain blue states in play for Republicans.
Wasserman Schultz called that a “fantasy” from a campaign “that is incredibly extreme, misogynistic and bigoted.”
She added that in a general election campaign, “he will see that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not think that we should ban an entire religion from coming into this country, do not think that we should ship eleven million undocumented immigrants back to their countries and don’t think that all Mexican immigrants are rapists and drug dealers. So a very different environment.”
Kelly interrupted to defend Trump.
KELLY: But he—he didn’t say "all." But he may move on those issues once he secures the nomination, as we’ve seen. I mean, don’t know, but we’ve seen so many candidates do that.
Later, she actually defended Trump on his treatment of women:
KELLY: On the woman issue, you know that he has said, "Look, I made a lot of comments when I was an entertainer, when I was hosting a show and needed to be a provocateur."
Now, if that’s not disingenuous, I don’t know what is. Because Trump’s attacks on women were exactly what prompted Kelly to question whether Trump had the temperament to be president in the debate question that set off months of attacks on her by him. Attacks that she obviously found very disturbing. She told Charlie Rose in a recent interview that Trump “gins up anger among so many… [it] manifests in my life in several ways.” She also called it a “dark moment” when colleague Bill O’Reilly only put up a weak defense when Trump attacked her on The O’Reilly Factor.
So it was left to Wasserman Schultz to remind Kelly of Trump’s misogynistic attacks on her:
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Megyn, he made them on the debate stage about you. He made them on the radio following his debate performances about you. So this is way beyond that he was entertaining. While he was running for president, he has spewed hateful, misogynistic rhetoric that is unacceptable in any forum but certainly coming from a presidential candidate, and the policies are even worse.
Rather than concede Trump's misogyny, Kelly changed the subject to suggest that Hillary Clinton is just as extreme and polarizing. “What about Hilary Clinton’s comments on a debate stage that Republicans were her top enemy?" Kelly quickly asked. "Because if she wants to win, she has to win with more than just Democrats. She’s gotta motivate some people to cross the aisle. …Has she alienated them?”
To be fair, Kelly somewhat defended Trump during an interview with Trump-critic Jorge Ramos. But in that interview, Kelly and Ramos also engaged in an extended conversation about Trump’s mistreatment of the media.
In this interview, Kelly all but told viewers that we should forget Trump’s past behavior as water under an entertaining bridge and set our sights on the more presidential Trump 2.0 to come.
Watch it below, from the April 26 America’s Election HQ, via Media Matters.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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