The feud between Donald Trump and Fox News reignited Tuesday with the GOP frontrunner quoting a fan who called host Megyn Kelly a "bimbo," and Fox News head Roger Ailes saying Trump should apologize.
The confrontation began after the first Republican presidential debate earlier this month, where Trump felt like he was treated unfairly both in the questions he received and in the analysis after the event. Trump said in an interview that Kelly "had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever" while co-moderating the debate.
The battle seemed to end in a truce days later after Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Fox News head Roger Ailes. “He is a great guy & assures me that ‘Trump’ will be treated fairly on @FoxNews,” Trump wrote. Ailes also issued a statement backing Kelly and assessing that the “air has been cleared.”
Kelly said on her show "The Kelly File" on August 10 that she would not respond to any of Trump's comments other than defending her questions during the debate.
However Ailes issued a statement Tuesday following Trump’s most recent offensive that indicates there is now a more serious rift between the real-estate mogul and the cable channel:
“Donald Trump's surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing. Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism and all of us at FOX News Channel reject the crude and irresponsible attempts to suggest otherwise. I could not be more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults. Her questioning of Mr. Trump at the debate was tough but fair, and I fully support her as she continues to ask the probing and challenging questions that all presidential candidates may find difficult to answer. Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case, he should. We have never been deterred by politicians or anyone else attacking us for doing our job, much less allowed ourselves to be bullied by anyone and we’re certainly not going to start now. All of our journalists will continue to report in the fair and balanced way that has made FOX News Channel the number one news network in the industry.”
Trump in turn responded with a statement to media:
"I totally disagree with the FOX statement. I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist. I think her questioning of me, despite all of the polls saying I won the debate, was very unfair. Hopefully in the future I will be proven wrong and she will be able to elevate her standards to a level of professionalism that a network such as FOX deserves," Trump said.
"More importantly, I am very pleased to see the latest polls from Public Policy Polling showing me at a strong number one with 35% in New Hampshire and the Monmouth University poll showing me, again at number one, with 30% in South Carolina. It was also just announced that I won the prestigious corn kernel poll at the Iowa State Fair by a landslide," he said. "I will be in Iowa tonight with my speech being live on CNN and other networks. My sole focus in running for the Presidency is to Make America Great Again!"
-- NBC's Carrie Dann contributed to this report.