Months after Megyn Kelly expressed her disappointment that fellow Fox News host Bill O’Reilly refused to defend her following a string of attacks from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, O’Reilly has responded by stating “It was not my job” to defend Kelly from Trump.
Donald Trump repeatedly attacked Fox host Megyn Kelly after the August 2015 Fox News primary debate calling her “crazy” and “unwatchable.” Trump faced widespread criticism after his attacks by journalists and media outlets, including a statement criticizing Trump allegedly written by Fox CEO Roger Ailes.
But Fox host Bill O’Reilly, remained silent throughout the controversy, instead pleading with Trump not to pull out of the next Fox News GOP primary debate.
In a March interview for More magazine, Kelly spoke out about the January interview O’Reilly held with Trump in which Trump spoke about having “zero respect” for Kelly and described her as “highly overrated.” Kelly told the magazine, “I do wish that O’Reilly had defended me more in his interview with Trump. I would have defended him more.” Trump responded to Kelly’s critique by describing her as “crazy” and criticizing her “bad show”:
On June 8, Talking Points Memo noted that O'Reilly had broken his silence on the Trump and Kelly feud, declaring “It was not my job” to defend Kelly from Trump's attacks:
Fox News' Bill O’Reilly doesn’t think it was his “job” to defend his colleague Megyn Kelly from a barrage of attacks by presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.
“It was not my job to intrude on the Fox News Channel hierarchy, which was handling the controversy,” O’Reilly said in a Q&A with the Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday. “Why am I going to get in the middle of that? [Chairman] Roger Ailes is a genius at handling this stuff. I am not going to make his life harder by putting my big mouth in the middle of this thing.”
Trump, who had spent months calling Kelly a “bimbo,” accelerated his attacks after Kelly's interview with More was published, tweeting that she was “crazy” and “highly overrated.”
O’Reilly’s comments come amidst reports of a brewing feud between Kelly and O’Reilly. A February report from CNN’s Brian Stelter on the “animosity between O’Reilly and Kelly” cited O’Reilly’s Trump interview as a visible example of the “strained relationship.” More recently, Kelly blasted “pundits” demanding the judge in the Trump U. case step down after Trump attacked the judge for being Latino. Her comments came immediately after O’Reilly called for the judge to recuse himself.