Megyn Kelly’s star may be on the rise with her primetime special set to air Tuesday night on Fox Broadcasting network. But she still had to sit through appearances by former SNL-er Jason Sudeikis and NCIS star Michael Weatherly before she could sit down with Stephen Colbert on Monday.
When Kelly finally walked on stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater, she began by comparing the feeling of live television to being a superhero. In return, Colbert asked her, “What’s your superpower, nailing Donald Trump?”
She went with “tough questions” instead.
“Congratulations on the last year. I mean, it’s a huge year for you,” Colbert told his guest. “You’re already a respected journalist, but you’ve become a sort of cultural icon in the last year partly because of going head-to-head with Donald Trump.”
Kelly wasn’t quite ready to embrace the “cultural icon” mantle and all the attention that comes with it, but she does recognize how big of a deal her long-awaited interview with adversary Trump is this week. “I feel like a lot of people in the country wanted to see that sit-down. It had to happen at some point.” Kelly said she hoped after this she and Trump could have regular interviews like she has had with every other presidential candidate, “except for Hillary Clinton, who refuses to come on.” She added, “I’m counting on you, Hillary, you’re next.”
Teasing Tuesday’s interview, Kelly said she chose to focus on Trump’s “temperament,” especially when it came to women, including “yours truly.” In a new clip from the special, Trump says he was never bullied and doesn’t consider himself to be a bully, merely a “counterpuncher.”
“I think he thought coming after me was a counterpunch against me,” Kelly told Colbert. “But I would argue that as journalists, we are the counterpunchers. The politicians get up there, make their comments, offer their policies or characters to be assessed by the American people, then it’s our job to punch them a little bit. We’re really the only thing that stands between them and the Oval Office, so we have to ask tough questions, which, in my own view, doesn’t make us fair game for, you know, a year of personal insults.”
As she has said before, Kelly described her time feuding with Trump as a “dark year,” but one with “silver linings.” Yet here, with Colbert, she went further in sticking up for herself as a highly rated cable news host in her own right, with or without the Trump bump. “I had the No. 2 show in all of cable news, and then I had an August debate with Donald Trump.”
Indeed, Trump said of Kelly in March, “She’s hotter now than ever before because of me. She should give me at least half of her salary."
“I’m glad you said that, because I would hate anyone to think that your success is related to his hostility towards you,” Colbert replied, “because you have all the success you have because of your work and you’d be here because of what you do, not because someone attacked you.”
When Kelly pushed back at Trump for trying to say he’s “responsible” for her success, Colbert joked, “He thinks he’s responsible for everything.”