How Donald Trump Went Up Against Fox News And Wound Up On Top

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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The day after the first GOP presidential debate, stats guru Nate Silver made a prediction: “Donald Trump Won’t Win A War Against Fox News.”

The analysis on Silver’s website, FiveThirtyEight, was based on a poll showing Republican voters had a high level of trust in the conservative news channel. The prediction came after the Republican frontrunner howled about the way he was treated during the debate, which was hosted by Fox and moderated by three of its best known anchors.

In the weeks since then, Trump has widened his lead nationally, and Fox was left to explain that moderator Megyn Kelly’s vacation was pre-planned and had nothing to do with the Donald’s complaints.

Below is a breakdown of how Trump ended up going to war with Fox and coming out on top.

June 16

Fox News canceled Trump’s regularly-scheduled morning appearances on “Fox & Friends” after he announced his bid for the presidency. The network usually drops contributors when they announce a presidential bid.

July 18

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose empire includes Fox News, criticized Trump on social media. Trump’s presidential announcement speech had included accusations that immigrants from Mexico were rapists and drug runners.

July 21

A New York Times report, detailing Murdoch’s relationship with Trump, quoted insiders who reportedly said that Murdoch described Trump as “a phony” to friends.

July 22

New York magazine reporter Gabe Sherman reported that Murdoch wanted his top executive at Fox News to rein in the network’s coverage of Trump’s presidential campaign.

Sherman, citing anonymous sources, reported that Murdoch asked Fox News chairman Roger Ailes to “back off the Trump coverage.”

Sherman’s insiders reportedly said Ailes told Murdoch he was covering Trump “the way he wanted to.”

July 23

Ailes told The Hollywood Reporter that his relationship with Murdoch “has never been better” and that Trump did not come up in conversations the two Fox executives had that day.

August 4

CNN reported that Trump talked with Murdoch on the phone and the conversation was described by insiders as a “peace-making effort.”

August 6

At the GOP debate, moderator and Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked Trump about derogatory comments he’d made about women in the past. Trump used his answer to fire a warning shot at Kelly.

“Honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry,” he said. “I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably not be based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that.”

August 7

The next day, Trump’s warning turned into a full-on attack. He tweeted his dislike of Kelly’s questions at the GOP debate.

Later that day, Trump went on CNN and made the infamous comments that many interpreted to be about Kelly’s menstrual cycle.

“She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions,” Trump said in a phone interview with CNN. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

August 10

Despite widespread criticism for his comment on CNN, Trump said on MSNBC that Kelly should apologize to him.

That comment was reportedly the last straw for Ailes, who called him that morning. CNN reported that Ailes told Trump “we can resolve this now or we can go to war.”

Ailes described it as a “blunt but cordial conversation” and that the “air has been cleared.” Trump referenced the phone call on social media.

New York magazine’s Sherman reported that Ailes offered Trump a spot on Kelly’s news program, but that Trump refused. He opted instead for an interview with “Fox & Friends” and “Hannity.”

A report by TVNewser later disputed that Trump was offered a special on Kelly’s show.

On her show that evening, Kelly said she would not apologize “for doing good journalism.”

August 11

Trump returned to Fox News, and the channel made no mention of his “blood” comment.

“Glad you’re back with us and glad we’re friends again,” co-host Steve Doocy said as he welcomed Trump to “Fox & Friends.”

“Well we are friends, Steve. We’ve always been friends,” Trump responded.

August 13

Kelly announced that she was taking a vacation.

August 14

Fox News released a statement that Kelly’s vacation had nothing to do with Trump.

“The conspiracy theories about Megyn Kelly’s vacation rank up there with UFO’s (sic), the moon landing and Elvis being alive,” the Fox spokesperson told Mediaite. “To imply otherwise as Donald Trump and his campaign operatives have is not only wildly irresponsible, but downright bizarre.”

August 19

Trump told The Hollywood Reporter it was “unlikely” he would go on Kelly’s show for an interview.

“We were at war because I felt that (Kelly’s debate question about women) was unfair, and I let him know it. But it’s all fine now,” Trump told the publication. “They were tough questions, and I thought inappropriate, but Roger didn’t, and I’ll go with Roger.”

August 24

Kelly returned to hosting her program and Trump hopped on Twitter to criticize her performance.

He also retweeted a couple insults.

August 25

Throughout the day, Fox News hosts defended colleague Megyn Kelly on social media and during their news programs. Some called Trump’s behavior “unpresidential” and “totally out of control.”

In the afternoon, Roger Ailes released a statement and demanded Trump apologize for his comments about Kelly, calling them an “unprovoked attack” that was “unacceptable” and “disturbing.”

Trump told Politico that he “totally disagrees” with Ailes and that he did not think Kelly was a quality journalist.

August 26

Trump told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on her show that Ailes was “a good friend” and that the two had spoken just before the interview.

“Roger Ailes is great. Roger Ailes is a special guy, a good friend of mine,” Trump said on the radio program. “We just spoke two minutes ago. I mean Roger Ailes is a great guy. And, no, I have no problem.”

August 31

Trump did not seem inclined to let the war end there, however. As recently as Monday, he lodged yet another complaint about Fox News.

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