NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s days of attacking Fox News host Megyn Kelly are over.
In interviews on CNN and Fox on Tuesday, Trump refrained from any criticisms of Kelly or her network.
Trump and Fox News chairman Roger Ailes have apparently struck a fragile truce.
In an interview on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday, Trump effusively praised Ailes, calling him “an amazing guy and an amazing executive” and a “very good friend of mine.”
He reiterated that “I have no problems” with Fox.
Kelly has sought to stay above the fray. On Monday night, she started her Fox News program by saying it’s “time to move forward” after days of Trump’s attacks against her.
After briefly addressing the controversy, that’s exactly what she did, shifting the spotlight off of herself and onto the evening’s news from Ferguson, Missouri.
Kelly acknowledged that Trump was “upset” with her questioning at last Thursday’s GOP debate. But she said “I felt he was asked a tough but fair question” about Trump’s record of misogynistic comments and “we agreed to disagree.”
She also mentioned that “Mr. Trump did interviews over the week that attacked me personally” but she didn’t elaborate on what those attacks were.
The comment that dominated news coverage in recent days was something Trump said to CNN’s Don Lemon on Friday night.
Trump complained about Kelly’s “anger” at the debate by saying there was “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
Many people thought he was insinuating something about her menstrual cycle, although Trump denied that.
Over the weekend, Kelly and her bosses at Fox News decided not to respond to the “blood” comments.
When asked by interviewers, Trump said he would not apologize to Kelly. Not apologizing has become a trademark of sorts for the candidate; not backing down is a part of his brand.
On Monday morning he took it a step further, saying on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he thought Kelly should apologize to him.
Perhaps that’s why Kelly pointedly said she “will not apologize for doing good journalism.”
“I’ll continue doing my job without fear or favor,” she said. “And Mr. Trump, I expect, will continue with what has been a successful campaign thus far.”
Kelly concluded: “This is a tough business, and it’s time now to move forward.”
Kelly made no mention of another more recent criticism Trump leveled against her. On Monday morning he tweeted a link to a favorable article about him from the conservative web site Newsmax. The article dredged up Kelly’s 2010 appearance on “The Howard Stern Show,” when she was asked about her sex life.
“Oh really,” Trump wrote, telling his Twitter followers to check out the “innocent” discussion and adding that “I am the innocent (pure) one!”
His call with Ailes was the turning point.
“We discussed our concerns, and I again expressed my confidence in Megyn Kelly,” Ailes said in a statement about the call. “She is a brilliant journalist and I support her 100%.”
Ailes continued: “I assured him that we will continue to cover this campaign with fairness & balance. We had a blunt but cordial conversation and the air has been cleared.”
Soon after the phone call took place, Fox confirmed that Trump would be on Tuesday’s “Fox & Friends” and the prime time show “Hannity.”
The controversy didn’t come up at all on “Fox & Friends.”
When CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked about the call with Ailes, Trump emphasized his respect for Ailes.
Cuomo asked, “Was part of the deal that Megyn Kelly wouldn’t go on her show and attack you and keep it going?,”
Trump responded, “No, I don’t — we didn’t even discuss that — it’s not about Megyn Kelly.”
Trump is a reliable ratings magnet and a popular figure within the Republican party. His relations with Fox News are important because Fox News is the favored channel of many Republicans.
On Monday there was chatter in the television business about how, to some extent, Trump and Ailes need each other, and there was debate over which one has the upper hand.
Trump clearly watches a lot of television news, including Fox, because on Monday night he resumed his Fox critique on Twitter. In fact, he practically live-tweeted his reactions to the 8 p.m. program “The O’Reilly Factor.”
After the program teased an interview with Sen. Rand Paul, during which the rival presidential candidate wondered aloud whether Trump has a brain, Trump said Paul “reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain.”
After the interview aired, he attacked Paul via Twitter again, then tweeted at the show’s fill-in host Eric Bolling.
“You can do much better than you did tonight,” Trump wrote. “Better luck tomorrow!”