Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has finally had it with Donald Trump and has called for the former "Apprentice" host to apologize for his "crude" attacks on the star of his cable news network.
Following a tense post-debate period during which Trump made a sexist remark in reference to her pointed questions and during which she was allegedly targeted with death threats from Trump supporters, Fox New host and GOP debate moderator Megyn Kelly abruptly went off the air.
Last night, Trump welcomed Kelly back from her hastily announced vacation with a series of harassing tweets, including suggesting the "Kelly File" host take "another eleven day unscheduled vacation!":
This afternoon, Ailes released a statement condemning Trump's "surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly" as "as unacceptable as it is disturbing" and calling on the frequent Fox News guest to apologize to Kelly but, unsurprisingly, suggesting no real consequence for Trump's tirade:
Donald Trump’s surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing. 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. 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.
Despite's its lack of a stated repercussion, it appears as though with this statement Ailes is making a concerted effort to send a more forceful message of disapproval than he had immediately following Trump's last rage-fueled attack against the one-time Fox News fan favorite. Although he didn't go so far as to ban the Trump from appearing on the network this time around, Ailes has been sure to make his disapproval heard:
Other Fox News personalities have also rallied to Kelly's defense, even if they were considerably mild or even laudatory toward Trump: