The brewing battle between two of Fox News’s biggest stars came to a head Wednesday night when Sean Hannity fired off a nasty tweet—four minutes into his broadcast—at colleague Megyn Kelly, who has characterized Hannity in recent days as nothing more than a mouthpiece for Donald Trump.
The comment that appears to have set Hannity off came during Kelly’s broadcast Wednesday in which she criticized both Hillary Clinton and Trump for retreating to friendly media outlets instead of facing tough questions from seasoned political reporters. “Donald Trump, with all due respect to my friend at 10 o’clock,” she said, referring to the host whose show follows hers, “will go on Hannity and pretty much only Hannity, and will not venture out to the unsafe spaces these days.”
In response, Hannity accused Kelly of being a Hillary Clinton supporter, which is just about as nasty of an insult as exists in the world of Fox News.
Following the first presidential debate last week, Trump made a beeline to Hannity in the spin room as Kelly anchored her own broadcast at the same hour. ”We’ve got Trump speaking to our own Sean Hannity,” Kelly said on air. “We’ll see whether he speaks to the journalists in this room after that interview.”
Kelly’s relationship with Trump has been strained, to say the least, ever since she questioned him about his treatment of women during the first Republican primary debate and he later implied that she was menstruating, with “blood coming out of her wherever.” The pair eventually made up on a highly publicized but little-watched prime-time special, but while Trump has continued to appear on The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity in recent weeks, he has stayed away from The Kelly File.
Hannity, meanwhile, has transformed himself into a de facto member of Trump’s campaign, getting in trouble with his own network for appearing in an official video for the candidate and pushing unscientific online surveys that showed Trump winning the first debate.
When one of Hannity’s Twitter followers implored him to “stand by” his colleagues, he replied, “Sure. When they stand by me.”
So far, at least, Kelly has not taken the bait.