An event even more miraculous than Fox News’ defense of Megyn Kelly has occurred: It seems Kelly has made peace with Donald Trump. On her show Wednesday night, Kelly described the meeting with Trump, which she requested, as a “chance to clear the air.” The two met at Trump Tower for about an hour, and Kelly said they even tossed around the possibility of an interview, but nothing is set in stone.
Trump also discussed the meeting, telling Fox’s Sean Hannity that Kelly was “very very nice.” He went on: “Maybe it was time — or maybe she felt it was time. And by the way, I give her a lot of credit for doing what she did.”
The feud between Kelly and Trump has held steady since the first Republican debate, in which Kelly pressed Trump on his habit of making derogatory remarks about women. Afterward, Trump called Kelly’s treatment of him “very unfair” and made a comment that many took as a menstrual reference. His defense continued with a barrage of nasty tweets in which he called Kelly everything from a “bimbo” to “so average in so many ways.”
Things seemed to have cooled between the two in February after Trump declined to attend a second event hosted by Kelly in a sort of nice-ish way, but in March he renewed his Twitter attacks on her, prompting Fox to do the unthinkable and side with its reporter as opposed to the ratings draw to which it had previously paid deference.
In a statement, Fox called Trump’s attacks and “sick obsession” with Kelly “beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate” and said it was “especially deplorable for [Kelly] to be repeatedly abused just for doing her job.”
Even after the statement, Trump continued to berate Kelly about the negative Trump coverage on her show. But Kelly hinted she’d be open to reaching out to Trump. “I had always been hoping I could reach out to him at a time when he wasn’t angry,” she told Variety. But “every time I prepare an invitation to sit down with him, he attacks me on Twitter or elsewhere.”
But it seems both Trump and Kelly are willing to bury the hatchet, especially if doing so means they’ll be able to celebrate with a spike in Fox’s ratings. After their meeting, Fox released a statement hinting at a "Fox Broadcasting special with Megyn Kelly airing on May 23" in which she interviews her former nemesis. What’s more, Fox’s Roger Ailes has reportedly been working behind the scenes on Kelly’s behalf; he even scheduled an "unrelated" lunch with Trump just after the Kelly meeting.
Their truce is strategic in more ways than one — it comes at a time when Trump is working to soften his image in preparation for the general election. During a CNN town hall Tuesday night, Trump said his family has been urging him to act more presidential; perhaps his willingness to mend fences with Kelly means he’s starting to listen.