After nearly four days of whining that he was treated unfairly by Fox News and Megyn Kelly during the first Republican debate, Donald Trump declared victory on Monday:
(Trump doesn’t just speak in third-person, he also apparently hears in it.)
The Donald’s recollections of phone calls don’t always align with those of the people on the other end of the line. (You tell him you quit, he hears himself saying you’re fired; you tell him to tone it down, he hears you say keep it up.) But according to New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, a Fox News expert if ever there was one, network chief Roger Ailes really did reach out in hopes of a making peace between his ratings-loving network and a candidate seen as a major reason why 24 million people tuned in to watch last week’s primetime debate:
Immediately following Thursday’s debate, Fox was deluged with pro-Trump emails. The chatter on Twitter was equally in Trump’s favor. “In the beginning, virtually 100-percent of the emails were against Megyn Kelly,” one Fox source, who was briefed on the situation told me. … Things got worse for Ailes over the weekend. In a phone conversation, Trump told Sean Hannity that “he was never doing Fox again,” according to one person with knowledge of the call. The anti-Kelly emails, and threat of a boycott by Trump, seems to have pushed Ailes to diffuse the war.
Whether the apparent truce will last, of course, is anyone’s guess. If it doesn’t, many observers believe Fox has the firepower needed to win a battle with the former-and-future reality TV star. As Ezra Klein put it in Vox, “Donald Trump needs Fox News more than Fox News needs Donald Trump.” That’s probably true in the long run but, for now at least, Ailes and his network still have a use for Trump. According to Sherman, The Donald is set to be interviewed on Fox & Friends and Hannity on Tuesday.
Elswhere in Slate:
- Why It’s Time to Stop Writing Donald Trump’s Political Obituary
- Did Trump Actually Win the Debate? How to Understand All Those Instant Polls That Say Yes.
- As Long As Donald Trump Is Running, Conservatives Oppose Misogyny
- The Fox News Debate Was Classic Fox News. It Was Also Great.