For many viewers, Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s much-anticipated interview with Donald Trump on Monday night was a reminder of all the sexist things Trump’s said about her: that she’s a “bimbo,” she’s “crazy,” she’s got “blood coming out of her whatever.” At one point during the interview, Kelly even confronted Trump about his sexism, noting the infamous “bimbo” incident.
“Did I say that?” Trump asked, sheepishly. Kelly confirmed that he had. “Oof,” Trump responded. “Excuse me.”
Watching this exchange, followers of Trump’s whirlwind presidential run may have been confused. Why would Trump have granted this interview with Kelly, who he’s repeatedly called a bad reporter? What’s more, why would he subject himself to multiple reminders of how he’s mistreated her?
I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2016
The reason, according to Trump himself, is that the interview was actually proof that he never mistreated Kelly at all. Speaking on a local Oregon radio station on Monday before the interview with Kelly aired, Trump said Kelly would not have asked him for a one-on-one if he was really all that sexist.
“Megyn Kelly called me — I didn’t call her, she called me, which I respect that she called me,” Trump told KXL News in Portland. “I say it with respect. And If I said something so bad, She wouldn’t have called me.”
Listen (relevant portion begins at around the 4:35 mark):
This isn’t the first time Trump has suggested that his interview with Kelly proved his innocence. Speaking in front of a crowd of Oregonites earlier this month, Trump said that Kelly’s request for an interview was proof that he wasn’t really talking about her period when he said Kelly had “blood coming out of her whatever.”
“She called me. She said I’d like to see you,” Trump told the audience. “Now, if I was wrong, she wouldn’t have done that. And I respect her for doing it.”
Though he’s long been scrutinized for sexism, Trump has been under particularly intense fire this week, following a New York Times investigation about how Trump has treated women throughout his life. The detailed account of Trump’s mannerisms was based on interviews with more than 50 women, who revealed “unwelcome advances, a shrewd reliance on ambition, and unsettling workplace conduct over decades.”
As for Kelly, even her employer Fox News has decried Trump’s “sexist” remarks and accused him of having a “sick obsession” with Kelly. More recently, however, it’s been reported that Fox News executive co-chairman Rupert Murdoch has reversed that position, and “plans to fully back Trump in the general election against Hillary Clinton.” Indeed, aside from the one confrontation over the word “bimbo,” Kelly’s interview with Trump on Monday was widely regarded as soft.
Still, we may not have heard the last of the Kelly-Trump saga. Kelly said recently that she is writing a tell-all book that detailing the impact of Trump’s sexism on her life over the last year. The book, however, will not come out until a week after the general presidential election.