Trump 2011: Candidates who skip debates are losers, or something

posted at 11:21 am on January 27, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

And guess who Donald Trump told this to? Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, whom he says “has done a really great job” moderating debates in the 2011-12 cycle. In this December 2011 interview with Kelly, Trump seems to have no issues lauding her capabilities as a debate moderator. He also has no problem talking about how “shocking” it was to have Michele Bachmann refuse to participate in his debate, and how “disappointed” Trump was with Mitt Romney for taking a pass as well. “We’re not seeing a lot of courage here,” he tells Kelly:

It’s actually quite the charmfest between Trump and Kelly in this interview from the previous cycle. He compliments her as a debate moderator, and she expresses her appreciation for his relationship with his children. Neither one of them seem ill at ease at all. Now that Kelly has become a moderator in debates that challenge Trump, however, the tycoon has obviously had a change of heart.

Trump’s campaign manager accused Kelly of being obsessed with Trump earlier today on Morning Joe:

Lewandowski then dismissed claims that Trump’s exit from Thursday night’s contest means he fears scrutiny from journalists.

“It’s very hard to appear with someone from a network which is going to be as biased as it has been against him,” he said, referencing debate moderator Megyn Kelly.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” Lewandowski continued. “What we know is that Megyn Kelly is totally obsessed with Mr. Trump. She has done show after show about why the media shouldn’t be having him on television.[“]

Hmmmm. To some, it appears that the obsession goes in the other direction. Trump couldn’t stop tweeting about Kelly for weeks after the first debate in August, and decided to pick up the attack again last week in anticipation of tomorrow’s debate. Why? Trump hasn’t gone on the warpath with other debate moderators from other networks, including the CNBC panel that incurred the wrath of other Republican candidates. In this case, Trump’s competitors seem to have little issue with Kelly or Fox News.

Fox didn’t help their case much over the past 24 hours, though. This is a fight the network (not Kelly) picked. First they put out a sarcastic and unprofessional shot at Trump for his repetitive threats to skip the debate, which provided the catalyst for Trump’s decision last night. That’s not exactly behavior becoming a broadcast partner for the RNC’s official debates, and raises the question about disparate treatment of Fox and NBC by the GOP, a headache Reince Priebus hardly needs at the moment. Then, after Trump announced he was pulling out of the debate, Fox issued this overwrought and nonsensical statement:

“Terrorizations”? This is an apparent reference to death threats sent to Kelly after the first debate, for which Fox implies Lewandowski had some responsibility. That’s a pretty serious accusation, and if Fox has any basis for making it, they should publish it and stand behind it. Otherwise, it’s nonsense to blame a campaign for the reaction of a few mentally unstable people. Lewandowski may be acting like a jerk — even that’s a YMMV judgment — but he’s not a terrorist. Excuse me, a terrorizationist.

Wake me when the adults come back into the room, mm-kay?

In that same vein, Ben Carson went on Fox and Friends this morning to tell Trump to man up:

Ben Carson on Wednesday tweaked Republican presidential rival Donald Trump for skipping this week’s GOP debate over a feud with Fox News and host Megyn Kelly.

“I’ve been asked some hard questions. I like hard questions, it doesn’t bother me at all,” Carson said on “Fox and Friends” when asked he felt he or Trump had been treated unfairly by the network.

Carson suggested the debate allowed candidates to expose any unfairness, saying, “If you get into the presidency, I guarantee you that there’s going to be unfairness, so this is just practice for that.”

Will this make much difference in Iowa? Eh, probably not, especially not among Trump’s committed supporters, for whom everything Trump does is sheer brilliance. (Note: This is not much different among committed Cruz supporters, Carson supporters, Jeb supporters, and so on. Er …maybe not so much on the Jeb supporters, though.) However, Iowa voters who have yet to make up their minds will look to this last debate to help clinch their decision. If Trump’s a no-show, that may push many of those to move to another candidate. In the latest Quinnipiac poll, almost 40% of likely caucus voters had not firmed up on a candidate, and that’s a big chunk of votes to leave on the table at the last opportunity.

Meanwhile, no one in this kerfuffle is covering themselves with glory, with perhaps the exception of Kelly herself, who has maintained a sense of professionalism that has escaped both Trump and Fox News. Perhaps today will be the day that everyone else gets the Super Jumbo Grip on themselves.

Update: Cheri Jacobus, a reporter/analyst and at times Capitol Hill staffer, has been offering up her recollections of working with Lewandowski, as well as the Trump campaign’s attempts to bring her on board. Start here and work your way forward. If Jacobus is recalling this accurately, though, it’s pretty clear that Fox has been enabling Trump and Lewandowski for quite some time, too.


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Comments

Schadenfreude on January 27, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Yes, sorry Jazz. Credit much deserved. Sincere apologies. No wonder. I thought that AP had seen a ray, alas.

Schadenfreude on January 27, 2016 at 1:39 PM

TarheelBen on January 27, 2016 at 1:38 PM

If it’s Hillary, it’s 1968

If Sanders , party like it’s 1972

rik on January 27, 2016 at 1:43 PM

fossten on January 27, 2016 at 1:34 PM

Come on, man. He’s been viciously attacking Ted Cruz with personal smears.

– “He’s a nasty guy; nobody likes him.”
– “His personal loan he took out makes him worse than Hillary.”
– “He may not be a natural born citizen. The democrats will sue him. Hell, I might sue him myself.”

And on and on.

I think it is YOUR prejudices that are blinding you to the kind of campaign he is running.

TarheelBen on January 27, 2016 at 1:44 PM

Even you can only focus on him.

Meremortal on January 27, 2016 at 1:21 PM

LOL here is the headline:

Trump 2011: Candidates who skip debates are losers, or something

Good Grief who was I supposed to focus on Walt Whitman?

Buttercup on January 27, 2016 at 2:05 PM

Well, why isn’t the RNC taking the heat that Donald Trump is?

The RNC had announced in late October that it would pull out of the NBC debate over the conduct of CNBC moderators during the third GOP debate in Colorado.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/266259-rnc-drops-nbc-as-debate-host

bluefox on January 27, 2016 at 2:21 PM

Trump is an egomaniac. Cruz is a religious fanatic and an unelectable, mean spirited narrow minded fool. This is the choice we face? Unless someone that can actually be elected against Hillsry surfaces we are watching a disasterous reality show. I only hope voters save us from this and vote for someone who can win- Rubio. He is really the only candidate Republicans and Independent voters actually like.

jake22 on January 27, 2016 at 2:29 PM

Wait, Trump was nice to Megyn? This can’t be true, everybody knows that Trump always insults and bashes women!!!

fossten on January 27, 2016 at 2:31 PM

Trump is an egomaniac.

jake22 on January 27, 2016 at 2:29 PM

Trump deliberately took himself off the main center stage for Thursday night.

Square that circle.

*starts 100-acre field of sundials*

fossten on January 27, 2016 at 2:32 PM

Come on, man. He’s been viciously attacking Ted Cruz with personal smears.

– “He’s a nasty guy; nobody likes him.”
– “His personal loan he took out makes him worse than Hillary.”
– “He may not be a natural born citizen. The democrats will sue him. Hell, I might sue him myself.”

And on and on.

I think it is YOUR prejudices that are blinding you to the kind of campaign he is running.

TarheelBen on January 27, 2016 at 1:44 PM

He hasn’t done anything different than any other candidate. It’s politics. Don’t be a nancy.

fossten on January 27, 2016 at 2:33 PM

fossten on January 27, 2016 at 2:31 PM

More importantly, she was nice to him.

Cindy Munford on January 27, 2016 at 2:49 PM

fossten on January 27, 2016 at 2:32 PM

You know I’m not anti-Trump but seriously? He just moved center stage.

Cindy Munford on January 27, 2016 at 2:50 PM

If there’s anything we have learned about Donald Trump, is “that was then, this is now”.

Dan333 on January 27, 2016 at 3:11 PM

Utter nonsense. He isn’t attacking anybody, he’s the target.

fossten on January 27, 2016 at 1:34 PM

And then when I point out his specific and very personal attacks against Ted Cruz:

He hasn’t done anything different than any other candidate. It’s politics. Don’t be a nancy.

fossten on January 27, 2016 at 2:33 PM

You just totally contradicted yourself in your last two posts. Which is it: He isn’t attacking anybody, or he’s not doing anything different than any other candidate?

Arguing with you is a waste of time. It’s like trying to nail jello to the wall.

TarheelBen on January 27, 2016 at 3:13 PM

Wake me when the adults come back into the room, mm-kay?

If he’s elected you’re gonna have a long, long nap, Mr. Rip Van Morrissey

Rod on January 27, 2016 at 3:22 PM

Schadenfreude on January 27, 2016 at 12:54 PM

yep. Schad, Fox is desperate after Greta’s own poll showed that 83% of her viewers would NOT watch the “debate” (debase?) if Trump is not there.

Senator Philip Bluster on January 27, 2016 at 1:06 PM

That is the effect but the cause is Megyn Kelly.

bluefox on January 27, 2016 at 3:31 PM

Heh, you knew this was going to happen.

Ailes Murdoch loves nothing more than dough…while they go for Hillary :)

Even being insulted by Trump “Ailes called my wife and daughter”, the dough is more important than principles.

Preach it.

Schadenfreude on January 27, 2016 at 12:54 PM

Trump has their # :-) Andrew Breitbart is smiling.

bluefox on January 27, 2016 at 3:39 PM

Trump 2011: Candidates who skip debates are losers, or something

That doesn’t count, I think he was a democrat at that time and supporting Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Hillary…right?

right2bright on January 27, 2016 at 4:29 PM

Arguing with you is a waste of time. It’s like trying to nail jello to the wall.

TarheelBen on January 27, 2016 at 3:13 PM

Actually it’s not a waste of time…as you have shown, and I have done many times…wait and the post an argument that undermines their initial argument.

Other words, they argue with themselves and lose.

It is the strangest thing I have ever witnessed in the past 10 years of posting.

It cracks me up…and they, even when pointing it out, do not see it.

It is amazing to me…the disconnect from reality. It makes me understand things like Jonestown, or how Obama got elected…it’s so emotional. A real education in what one Trump supporter admitted, “mushy minds”…which was one of the debates a Trump supporter lost to himself.

right2bright on January 27, 2016 at 4:33 PM

Oh yes, having wackjob Michael Moore on her show to take her side was just brilliant!

jmell7 on January 27, 2016 at 11:33 AM

Michael Moore may be a whackjob, but he is more politically consistent than Trump. You may not like his ideology, but at least he HAS one.

Trump tried to get Kelly on his side before he announced his candidacy. Sent her news items and other articles, asking for her opinions. She described it as Trump trying to “woo” her, and said she refused to play his game. No wonder he has it in for her.

Trump does not take rejection well, especially from women, whom he looks down on (as do many of his cultists, as evidenced by the tenor of some of the comments attacking Kelly). By any measure, Kelly is much smarter than Trump. And he can’t stand that idea.

He’s afraid she’ll get the better of him–again–and he’s afraid to sling all the crap he’s been saying about Cruz at him in person.

Trump is awfully cowardly for someone adored by his fans for being so strong and fearless.

Meredith on January 27, 2016 at 5:14 PM

I keep telling folks that Trump does NOT want to be POTUS. His efforts are aimed at getting liberal Democrats elected, thus his latest move.

Trump’s chumps can keep their butt hurt to themselves as anyone with half of a brain knew what Trump was up to, and if their heads explode when he runs as a 3rd. Party Candidate they have no one except for themselves to blame.

My advice to the disillusioned is to vote for Conservatives, and leave Hillary’s fan in the filth he created.

DannoJyd on January 27, 2016 at 5:54 PM

It is amazing to me…the disconnect from reality. It makes me understand things like Jonestown, or how Obama got elected…it’s so emotional. A real education in what one Trump supporter admitted, “mushy minds”…which was one of the debates a Trump supporter lost to himself.

right2bright on January 27, 2016 at 4:33 PM

I used to say that conservatives were driven by practicality, reason and logic while liberals were all emotion – nothing else. I was wrong.

It’s amazing to see how many people who despised Romney for his past positions and labeled him a self-serving flip-flopper now vehemently defend Trump for the same thing.

Rod on January 27, 2016 at 6:22 PM

Well since he’s not in the debate it gives him plenty of time to fantasize again about all the things he wants to do with his own daughter

wearyexclusive on January 27, 2016 at 7:13 PM