Donald Trump likes to take credit for boosting Megyn Kelly’s ratings, but the Fox News anchor tells Variety in a new interview that he only does that because his boycott on “The Kelly File” backfired.
“‘The Kelly File’ was the No. 1 show [in cable] in the time slot and No. 2 in all of cable news from the time I launched it,” said Kelly, who draws 2.5 million nightly viewers in primetime. “Trump called for people to boycott the show repeatedly. The numbers went up. When he realized the boycott had failed, he decided to take credit for the show’s success.”
Kelly said that she laughed when she saw Trump claim on Twitter that he deserves a portion of her salary. “I’ll say this,” Kelly said in an interview as part of this week’s Variety Power of Women issue. “I earn every dime of my salary. I won’t be giving it to anyone other than my three children.”
Kelly, who hasn’t spoken to Trump since the last debate she moderated in February, hoped that he’d cease the personal attacks. “If he’s determined not to stop, there’s nothing I can do,” Kelly said. “I don’t like being the story. I think it raises real First Amendment issues. I think I’ve seen with what’s happening now with Michelle Fields [the former Breitbart News reporter allegedly grabbed by Trump’s campaign manager] and in my own world, there’s another side to this behavior. It poses real risks to the person under attack.”
Kelly added that she challenges her staff to cover Trump fairly on her show. “I don’t avoid the controversies any more than other journalists do,” Kelly said. “There are some opinion hosts who want to avoid anything controversial. That’s fine, that’s what opinion hosts do. I have an obligation to cover these things, but fairly. If there’s anything about Trump in the news and I know someone is going to attack him, I always have a Trump defender on.”
The star journalist, who is launching her own primetime special on Fox on May 23, noted she’s still interested in an interview with the Republican frontrunner. “I don’t know whether that ship has sailed or not,” Kelly said. “I’d like to talk to him. I think he’d be a great interview. I think he’d be fascinating. I think the American people would love to see it.”