Fox News didn’t waste any time responding to Donald Trump’s announcement that he planned to bail on the network’s upcoming presidential debate.
“It should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing — Megyn Kelly, whom he has viciously attacked since August,” Fox said about the GOP frontrunner’s decision to skip the debate.
The network issued that statement Tuesday evening, about an hour after Trump announced he’d be a no-show. Trump’s debate departure came after he asked Fox to remove Kelly as a debate moderator and the network refused.
“Unlike the very stupid, highly incompetent people running our country into the ground, Mr. Trump knows when to walk away,” the Trump campaign said.
Read Fox’s tersely worded statement below.
“As many of our viewers know, Fox News is hosting a sanctioned debate in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday night, three days before the first votes of the 2016 election are cast in the Iowa Caucus. Donald Trump is refusing to debate seven of his fellow presidential candidates on stage that night, which is near unprecedented. We’re not sure how Iowans are going to feel about him walking away from them at the last minute, but it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing – Megyn Kelly, whom he has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage. Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski toward Megyn Kelly. In a call on Saturday with a Fox News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so. We can’t give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees. Trump is still welcome at Thursday night’s debate and will be treated fairly, just as he has been during his 132 appearances on Fox News & Fox Business, but he can’t dictate the moderators or the questions.”