PLAYING NICE?

Megyn Kelly: Don’t Count Trump Out

Fox News host Megyn Kelly tells Jimmy Fallon why she thinks Donald Trump made a big mistake by skipping the last GOP debate before Iowa—but this thing is far from over.

02.05.16 5:52 AM ET

The big question heading into Megyn Kelly’s first-ever appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show Thursday night: How long would it take for someone to mention the name Donald Trump?

Not long. After striding out to The Roots’s version of “What Does the Fox Say?” Kelly smiled through Fallon’s praise of her performance at the last two GOP debates on Fox before saying, “Donald Trump did not feel the same.” One thing that’s changed in her life since the start of her feud with the Republican frontrunner, she said, is that she “can no longer go on Twitter.”

“It’s been sort of a surreal six months,” Kelly told Fallon, adding that she never anticipated the negative reaction from Trump to what she viewed as a fair line of questioning about his electability.

“He got a tough question, but they all got tough questions,” she said. “I mean, they want George Washington’s job. So, I’m a member of the press, and we’re supposed to press, and see if they’re worthy.”

Kelly was thrust back into the spotlight ahead of the most recent Republican debate when Trump said he would not be participating as long as she was the one asking the questions. “Well, he said it was about me, and then he said it was about a statement my boss put out, and then he said it was about, like, a gum wrapper on the floor,” she joked. “There were a lot of reasons that he gave, so I don’t know exactly why he didn’t show up.”

Bringing out his stellar Trump impression for a delighted Kelly, Fallon wondered if she and her co-moderators were prepared for the candidate to show up at the last minute. “Surprise!” Fallon said as Trump, “Forgot about somebody? Guess what? I was hiding behind a wall, a giant wall. I’ve been here the whole time!”

The next GOP debate on Fox is scheduled for March 3 in Detroit and Kelly is set to moderate once again. But as she revealed, Trump has not yet committed to participating in it. Asked if she thinks skipping the previous debate hurt Trump in Iowa, Kelly would only say, “I think he thinks it hurt him.”

“That was basically his last job interview with the Iowans, and he skipped it,” she said. “I think he realized after the fact that it would have benefitted him to be there. If nothing else, he gave all of these other guys all this oxygen.”

But Kelly did not have all bad things to say about the man who once made a period joke about her on national television. “Say what you will about Donald Trump, he’s electrified the Republican base,” she admitted. “And a lot of people are saying, ‘Oh, he’s done now.’ He was a close second in Iowa, he’s way ahead in New Hampshire and he’s introduced a lot of issues into this election that the Republicans really want to talk about.”

“So, don’t count him out,” Kelly concluded.