Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes weighed in strongly in support of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly Tuesday following GOP candidate Donald Trump's continued attacks on her show and abilities, calling Trump's tweeted insults a verbal assault that was "crude and irresponsible."
Ailes sought an apology from the rarely reticent real estate mogul and former reality TV star following a series of tweets from Trump saying she was off her game and calling her show a waste of an hour.
“Donald Trump's surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing," said Ailes in a statement.
"Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism and all of us at FOX News Channel reject the crude and irresponsible attempts to suggest otherwise."
"I could not be more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults," said Ailes. "Her questioning of Mr. Trump at the debate was tough but fair, and I fully support her as she continues to ask the probing and challenging questions that all presidential candidates may find difficult to answer. Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case, he should. We have never been deterred by politicians or anyone else attacking us for doing our job, much less allowed ourselves to be bullied by anyone and we’re certainly not going to start now. All of our journalists will continue to report in the fair and balanced way that has made FOX News Channel the number one news network in the industry.”
Trump's initial attacks on Kelly stemmed from some tough questioning by her and other Fox anchors in the first Republican presidential debate. Trump had appeared to be trying to mend fences with the channel in the interim, but after Monday night's tweets, the fence was clearly in need of repair once again.
Trump's press office had not responded to multiple e-mails at press time, but a statement cited by Politico had Trump doubling down again, saying he disagreed with Fox and he didn't think Kelly was a 'quality journalist."