Everyone is talking about the fiery exchange between former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Megyn Kelly last night on Fox News. And, with good reason. You don’t often see an exchange like this played out on live television.
When a journalist begins a question to a Trump surrogate with the phrase “If Trump is a sexual predator… ” that journalist should expect a certain level of push-back, right?
That’s exactly what happened Tuesday night on Fox News channel when Gingrich hammered back at Megyn Kelly when she laid the “Trump is a sexual predator” premise for a question. Gingrich, a man who is famous for attacking journalists’ questions based on false or inflammatory premises, pounced.
The interview began in an adversarial way with Kelly citing recent polls that are favorable to Clinton. Kelly then asked her first question of Gingrich: “If Donald Trump loses this White House race and the Republicans lose the Senate, does that suggest that the Republicans nominated the wrong candidate at the top of their ticket?”
Now, that is a question just begging for a vigorous response, is it not? And Gingrich did a fine job challenging the veracity of the polls by pointing out that one of the reports Kelly referenced, the “Cook Political Report,” comes from Charlie Cook who predicted Trump would never win the Republican nomination.
After interrupting Gingrich several times Kelly then referenced the Fox News polls and challenged Gingrich: “You tell me if that’s all made up.”
Considering both Kelly and Gingrich are employees of Fox News, that challenge kind of puts Gingrich in a tough spot,to say the least.
But things really went off the rails when Kelly began a question with “If Trump is a sexual predator…”
Here’s what happened next:
KELLY: If trump is a sexual predator —NEWT: He’s not a sexual predator.KELLY: You’re taking that statement.NEWT: You cannot defend that statement. i’m sick and tired of people like you using language that’s inflammatory that’s not true.KELLY: Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, you have no idea whether it’s true or not.NEWT: neither do you.KELLY: I’m not taking a position on it.NEWT: When you used the word you took a position and it’s unfair of you to do that. i think that is exactly the bias people are upset about.KELLY: I think your defensiveness on this may speak volumes sir. what i said — let me make my point and then i’ll give you the floor. what i said is if trump is a sexual predator, then it’s a big story. and what we saw on that tape was trump himself saying he likes to grab women by the genitals and kiss them against their will. then we saw ten women come forward after he denied doing it at a debate the say that was untrue, he did it to me, he did it to me, we saw reporters, people who worked with him. he denies it all. which is his right. my point to you is as a media story, we don’t get to say the ten women are lying. we have to cover that story, sir.NEWT: Sure. okay. so it’s worth 23 minutes of the three network to cover that story and Hillary Clinton had a secret speech in Brazil to a bank that paid her 225,000 saying her dream as an open border where 600 million people can come to america is not worth covering.KELLY: That is worth covering and we did.NEWT: You are fascinated with sex and you don’t care about public policy.KELLY: Me, really?NEWT: That’s what i get out of watching you tonight.KELLY: I’m not fascinated by sex but i am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we’re getting in the oval office and i think the american voters would like to know —NEWT: That’s why we’re sending Bill Clinton back to the east wing because after all you’re worried about the sexual predators.KELLY: It’s about the men and women in america and the poll numbers show us that the women in america are very concerned about these allegations and in large part believe that they are a real issue.
After the prolonged and heated exchange, Kelly wrapped things up with a bit of a cheap shot. “We’re going to have to leave it at that, and you can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them Mr. Speaker. Thanks for being here.”
“And you too,” Gingrich pointedly responded.