Republican presidential candidates jumped at the chance to criticize front-runner Donald Trump after he announced on Jan. 26 he’d be skipping the upcoming Fox News debate on Jan. 28 because of moderator Megan Kelly’s presence.
At a previous Fox News debate on Aug. 6, 2015, Kelly questioned Trump on his comments about women, prompting anger from the real estate mogul on the grounds that her line of questioning was unfair. The day after the debate, Trump said that Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever,” sparking outrage.
Trump polled his supporters on Twitter to decide whether or not he should attend the debate, and called the anchor a “lightweight reporter” in the process. In the end, the Trump campaign decided not to have him attend the debate in Iowa.
“He will not be participating in the Fox News debate on [Jan. 28],” Campaign Manager Cory Lewandowski said, reports New York magazine. "It’s not under negotiation."
Lewandowski said Kelly is “very biased” and not capable of treating Trump fairly. Instead of attending the debate, Trump will hold an event in Iowa for nonprofit Wounded Warriors.
Following Trump’s announcement, his GOP rivals commented on the decision. Ted Cruz accused him of being “terrified” of Kelly.
“It's really quite astonishing that Donald is apparently so afraid of Megyn Kelly,” Cruz said. “If you're afraid of Megyn Kelly, then you're going to be afraid of Hillary Clinton. And you're going to be afraid of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”
Rival Ben Carson also blasted Trump for the decision.
“If somebody’s treating you unfairly, it gives you an opportunity to expose the unfairness,” Carson said, adding that presidents have to deal with unfair situations regularly.