If this past year and a half has felt long to you, one can only imagine how long it has felt for Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who was forced to watch the man who called her a “bimbo” on Twitter and accused her of asking tough debate questions because she was menstruating become president-elect of the United States.
But at least she got a book out of it. All week, Kelly has been making the mainstream media rounds to promote Settle for More, her new memoir/self-help book that chronicles both her feud with Trump and the sexual harassment she faced from since-ousted Fox News head Roger Ailes.
Thursday, Kelly stopped by The View, where she said she was “just as surprised as anybody” that Trump was elected president last Tuesday. But she was not, as you might imagine, worried for herself. “I know people who see that moment and think I must have been like, ‘Oh, no!’ But I wasn't,” she said. “Honestly, as a reporter, I was like, this is going to be so much more interesting.”
That sentiment echoes what Kelly said the morning after the election when she urged Americans to “keep an open mind” about Trump. This is despite the fact, as she outlines in the book and told The View today, Trump made personal threats against her leading up to the first Republican primary debate.
“He was very ticked off about a story we had done about his divorce from Ivana Trump which was kind of interesting because I was actually kind of defending him in the segment but he didn't want it getting any air time,” Kelly said, referring to her interview with The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak about rape allegations Trump’s ex-wife made against him. “He insisted that I call him before the presidential debate or he wasn't going to come on my show that Monday night. I called him and he was not happy with me. And it ended in him saying, ‘I almost unleashed my beautiful Twitter account against you, and I still may.’ You know, now as the world knows, he did.”
Even if she still has “difficulty coming to grips with the fact that he's won,” Kelly said, “I do feel like we owe it to him and to our country to stand behind him and hope for the best and root for him.”
Referring to the sit-down truce the pair eventually struck at Trump Tower on primetime network television after he became the presumptive nominee in May, The View’s Joy Behar said she was a “little disappointed” that Kelly did not confront him over the threats she was still receiving at that point from his supporters.
“A lot of people, in particular those who were more left-leaning didn't like that interview, because they really wanted to me give it to him and sort of call him out on the sexist comments,” Kelly said. “What I was trying to do, with the sit-down at Trump Tower and the interview that followed, it was an off ramp from a year of severe threats and I mean, real danger.” After feuding with Trump for nine months, she realized, “No one was going to stand him down but me,” adding that both Roger Ailes and Sean Hannity had tried to get him to “knock it off” but were unsuccessful.
“It was incredible to me how much anger there was over a debate question,” she added, “A debate question, that if you looked at Trump's history anybody could have seen was going to come at him in the general if he was against Hillary.”
Asked by Sunny Hostin what it was like to be “bullied” by the next president of the United States, Kelly told the hosts a story about being in 7th grade, when she said she had “no friends” and would get teased by the other girls, who made her feel “so alone and so unlikable.”
‘The point is, adversity like that, I believe, is an opportunity to grow, and if you don't do those crunches, you're never going to have a strong core,” she said. “When you get gut-punched later in life, by anybody, including a presidential—” she said, stopping to correct herself. “I mean a president, you can take it.”
Later in the interview, Kelly also discussed how she dealt with adversity of another kind in her career: sexual harassment at the hands of Roger Ailes and the “career suicide” she knew she would face if she didn’t handle it correctly. She also responded to the “temper tantrum” that her colleague Bill O’Reilly has decided to throw in response to her book, accusing her of making Fox News “look bad” by discussing Ailes’ history of predation.
Kelly clarified that she got the blessing of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, who are now running Fox News in Ailes’ absence, to include those stories in her book. But she was hesitant to say anything negative about her colleague O’Reilly.
“As far as Bill goes, I think there's some interesting back stories in the book about my time at Fox News, and I'll tell you that I love my colleagues,” she said. “But I do think that, you know, some people, in particular, some men, have had a very different reaction to the outing of this story than some women in particular. And I'll just encourage people to be open-minded and realize the message they're sending to young women in trying to diminish the reporting on this.”
If Ailes or any other man tried to do the same thing to her again, Kelly said, “It would go down very differently.”