As newspaper columnists rushed to pronounce Donald Trump's campaign DOA this week after his second-place showing in Iowa, the GOP candidate received support from an unlikely source: Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
Speaking on NBC's "Tonight Show" Thursday, Kelly said Trump "has electrified the Republican base” and "introduced a lot of issues into this election that the Republicans really want to talk about. So don’t count him out.”
Trump has practically made a sport of attacking Kelly ever since the first Republican presidential debate in August, when she asked him about a series of crude insults he used against women. Kelly said Thursday that the public feud has made her such a frequent target for abuse on social media that she "can no longer go on Twitter."
Still, she stood by her tough questions for Trump. "That opening round of the first debate was all about electability. 'What's going to prevent you from getting the nomination? What's going to prevent you from winning against Hillary?'"
Speaking on "Good Morning America" on Friday, Kelly agreed with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who recently said there's "a special amount of venomous commentary reserved for women."
"That's right, absolutely," said Kelly. "That's the problem with language like 'bimbo,' and so on, is that it gins up attacks along those lines, which is diminishing for women in general."
Trump is so averse to answering questions from Kelly that he skipped the final GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses, claiming at first that he was boycotting due to Kelly's "bias" against him.
Kelly laughed about Trump's reasoning with Jimmy Fallon. "Well, he said it was about me, and then he said it was about a statement my boss put out, and then he said it was about, like, a gum wrapper on the floor,” she joked. “There were a lot of reasons that he gave, so I don’t know exactly why he didn’t show up.”
Instead of attending the debate, Trump held a campaign rally a few miles away, billing the event as a way to raise money for veterans' charities.
Kelly also told Fallon that one of the best moments during the debate was when moderators played video of candidates' past statements back to them, then pressed the politicians on why they had changed positions.
The line of questioning would have been particularly uncomfortable for Trump, who said on TV in 1999 that he was "very pro-choice" but now claims to be "absolutely pro-life."
Playing videos during the debate, Kelly said, made it "much more difficult for them to weasel out of the positions, when the audience has just heard them say the thing."
Kelly is slated to moderate another GOP debate on March 3, and said she hopes Trump will attend. "We will just move our Trump questions from the last debate over to this debate," she told "Good Morning America," "and I’ll finally get a chance to ask him.”
Editor's note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.