Donald Trump and the other candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination have not seen the last of Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly.
FNC has another debate scheduled in January before the Iowa caucuses and Kelly, “Special Report” anchor Bret Baier and “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace will be moderating again, a representative for the channel confirmed.
The trio’s pointed questioning of Republican front-runner Donald Trump at the Aug. 6 debate in Cleveland prompted harsh criticism from the candidate and his supporters. Trump’s attacks on Kelly on social media and in TV interviews became so heated, Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes called and told him to cool it.
Fox News has been taking heat from some viewers as well. Baier shared a viewer tweet on Wednesday that said, “Quit watching Special Report and Fox a week ago. No longer #FAIRANDBALANCED.” (Baier replied: “Hope you come back. We’ll be here.”)
Ailes has stood by the performance of his anchors, calling them “the best political debate team ever put on television.” There has been no discussion of making any changes, the representative said.
Whether Trump faces Kelly and company again in January will depend if his juggernaut candidacy is still going strong. FNC limited last week’s prime-time debate to the top 10 candidates in the national polls. No guidelines have been set for the next event.
“As we get closer to the January debate in Iowa, Fox News will announce the criteria for participation -- which has not yet been determined -- and invitations will be extended to all candidates who meet that criteria,” a Fox News representative said. “As Fox demonstrated last week, our goal with these debates is to be as inclusive as possible.”
One producer at a competing cable news organization predicted Trump will be there.
“Trump giving up airtime? Are you kidding me?” the producer said.
Despite the negative feedback from some conservative bloggers, Fox News’ ratings have remained strong since the debate that was watched by 24 million viewers. Kelly, who got under Trump’s skin by pressing him on disparaging remarks he’s made about women, had the largest cable news audience on Monday and Tuesday.
Kelly, who adressed the controversy on her program but refrained from commenting on Trump’s remarks about her, starts a previously scheduled vacation today.