Days after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times has released a review of Megyn Kelly’s forthcoming memoir, Settle for More.USA TODAY
NEW YORK — Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly said she thinks Donald Trump was agitated before the first GOP primary debate not because he’d learned she was going to confront him about his insulting descriptions of women but because he suspected she’d ask about his first wife’s claim that he’d raped her.
In her new memoir,Settle for More, Kelly describes how an unexpectedly anxious Trump complained to Fox News executives last year about what she’d do as a moderator of the debate. The questions Kelly and her colleagues planned to ask the candidates were secret. She wrote that days before the debate, Trump called Fox “in an attempt to rein me in. … He said he had ‘heard’ that my first question was a very pointed question directed at him.” Kelly’s first question was in fact for Trump and about his treatment and descriptions of women. She wondered, she wrote, “How could he know that?”
In an exclusive interview Monday with USA TODAY — one in which she discussed what she called her “Year of Trump” and her stand against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes — Kelly said she did not believe her question leaked to Trump beforehand. “I don’t think he had any idea,” she said. “What I think he was worried about was his divorce from Ivana Trump. … He was afraid I was going to bring that up.”
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A few weeks before the debate, Kelly devoted a segment of her program,The Kelly File, to an interview with the author of a report on The Daily Beast website. It said Ivana Trump had sworn in divorce papers a quarter-century earlier that Trump had raped her — an accusation she later retracted. Kelly said that after the segment aired, an angry Trump called and told her that “I almost unleashed my beautiful Twitter account on you, and I still may.”
It was a threat on which he soon made good.
The author’s Year of Trump began with her now famous question to Trump about whether his history with women would be fodder for Hillary Clinton’s claims that he was part of a “war on women.”
It exploded with what was widely taken as Trump’s insinuation that Kelly was hostile to him in the debate because she was menstruating. It continued until the following April, when the two met in Trump’s office. By that time, Kelly said, she was weary of the abuse prompted by Trump’s string of insulting social media posts. In the interview, Kelly declined to comment on what she said or did at her Trump Tower meeting to get him to stop.
Donald Trump speaks to moderators Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace during the first Republican presidential debate Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland.(Photo: John Minchillo, AP)
But as a result of the meeting, she said, “Trump and I are in a better place now. We left things on a good note. He’s never come after me the way he had. … Even though he held onto his anger toward me like a dog with a bone, he does have the ability to let things go. He proved that.”
Readers ofSettle for Moremay not harbor such optimism about the president-elect. That’s because Kelly has written a contemporaryPerils of Paulinesaga in which a sympathetic heroine fends off the advances — literal and digital — of two villains: Trump and Ailes, who resigned in July under duress.
The latter, an accused serial sexual harasser (who nonetheless furthered our heroine’s career at every turn) gets his just desserts; the former becomes president.