A visibly angry Newt Gingrich battled Megyn Kelly in a Tuesday night TV segment that left Donald Trump supporters accusing Kelly of bias.
Gingrich, speaking as a surrogate for Trump, said Kelly is “fascinated with sex” after Kelly brought up allegations of sexual assault and unwanted touching by the GOP nominee.
“You are fascinated with sex and you don’t care about public policy,” Gingrich said.
She responded: “You know what, Mr. Speaker, I’m not fascinated by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of women, and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office.”
Gingrich advanced a common conservative complaint — that allegations against Trump are getting an undue amount of media attention.
The conversation ended with Kelly asserting that Gingrich — a paid Fox News contributor — had “anger issues.”
Trump promoted the tense interview Wednesday morning, all but guaranteeing it will get more attention. During a ribbon-cutting at his new hotel in Washington, D.C., Trump singled out Gingrich and said “congratulations, Newt, on last night. That was an amazing interview.”
“We don’t play games, Newt, right? We don’t play games,” he added.
The segment shocked viewers and lit up social media Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
“There is a hot gender war underway,” MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace tweeted afterward, taking Kelly’s side.
Trump aide Dan Scavino, the campaign’s social media director, seemed to rekindle Trump’s primary season resentment of Kelly by taking Gingrich’s side. “@NewtGingrich just destroyed @MegynKelly,” he tweeted. “Shows she is totally biased against Mr. Trump & not very smart. Mr. Trump has long known!!”
Scavino kept it going, saying Kelly “made a total fool out of herself tonight,” and adding, “Watch what happens to her after this election is over.”
After the election is over, Kelly’s contract will be coming up for renewal. She is expected to sign a huge multi-million-dollar deal, either at Fox or another network.
Kelly also has a memoir coming out in mid-November, “Settle for More,” which deals with gender issues and other subjects.
Gingrich addressed the segment on Twitter Wednesday morning, writing, “For the record, @megynkelly was wrong, i don’t have anger management issues. I do have media bias issues!”
Tuesday’s already tough segment turned fiery when Kelly raised the possibility — stated as a question, not a fact — that Trump could be a “sexual predator.”
Gingrich, who when he was Speaker of the House led the impeachment of Bill Clinton on charges related to his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, objected to this. He tried to turn the conversation around by invoking allegations against Bill Clinton: “I just want to hear you use the words. I want to hear the words ‘Bill Clinton sexual predator.’ I dare you. Say ‘Bill Clinton, sexual predator.'”
Kelly did not take his bait.
After the segment, two of Bill Clinton’s accusers, Juanita Broaddrick and Paula Jones, tweeted criticisms of Kelly.
Gingrich also seemed to dismiss Fox’s own electoral map, which shows Clinton well ahead of the 270 electoral votes she needs to win the presidency.
Kelly cited several such maps, including Fox’s, and said “these are nonpartisan outlets that are just trying to call the electoral scoreboard.”
“They’re not nonpartisan outlets,” Gingrich responded. “Every outlet you described is part of the establishment.”
“Fox News? Really? Are we? I don’t think so,” she said.
“Oh c’mon,” Gingrich said.
The segment ended up proving what Gingrich said at the very beginning: That Americans are living in “two parallel universes” right now.