Donald Trump vs. Roger Ailes: How Fox News Chief Used Debate to Strike Against GOP Frontrunner

“There’s very few moments occurring on the network that Ailes doesn’t have a hand in–times that by 100 for a GOP presidential debate,” network insider tells TheWrap

Roger Ailes, Donald Trump, Chris Wallace, Megan Kelly, Bret Baier (Rob Kim/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Rob Kim/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump is no longer sure if “Fox is fair” and network chairman Roger Ailes is certainly listening.

Spurned by the network debate moderators’ tough line of questioning, which included Megyn Kelly asking Trump to defend previous comments about women being “fat pigs, dogs and disgusting animals,” the real estate mogul went on the offensive after the debate.

“I’m not sure that Fox is fair necessarily,” he said, claiming the other candidates told him they were glad they didn’t field the tough questions he did and “congratulated” him.  On Kelly specifically, Trump said the Fox News host’s line of questioning was not “professional”and although he can handle tough questions, they should be spread around to all the candidates.

“I’m very surprised at Fox News that they would do that; I would say it’s pretty unprofessional,” he said.

He also went full Donald on social media.

Then he also retweeted a tweet that called Kelly a “bimbo.”

In two months, Trump has hit just about every important media figure you can think of, calling Anderson Cooper pathetic and belittling several Fox News regulars like Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol.

But Ailes–and his prize anchor Kelly–is a different animal all together.

A Fox News insider told TheWrap: “There’s very few moments occurring on the network that Ailes doesn’t have a hand in–times that by 100 for a GOP presidential debate.”

Getty Images
Getty Images

Though moderators Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier have been widely praised in the media for their performance, the individual said all three hosts had pep talks with Ailes during debate preparation.

Ailes involvement in questions posed to Trump could be indication that the Fox News honcho might not be as on board with a Trump nomination as many of his anchors have been so far.

“My advice to Trump: criticize the media at your own peril,” Joe Peyronnin, former Fox News president and CBS VP, told TheWrap.  “He diminishes himself, and opens himself up to more tough grilling. Everything Fox News anchors asked Donald Trump was fair game. I believe the anchors all saw this as a great opportunity, and collaborated on questions, which were all read.”

Ailes’ outlook on Trump mixed with the candidate’s post-debate grenades toward Fox sets up the new 2016 campaign: Trump vs. Ailes. A real case of “We Report, You Decide.”