The Fox News Channel released a snarky statement Tuesday after Republican frontrunner Donald Trump asked his Twitter audience whether he should skip the network’s Thursday debate.

“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement provided to TheBlaze.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Trump made news earlier in the morning by posting a poll on Twitter asking, “Should I do the #GOPDebate?” At the time of publication, nearly 23,000 votes had been cast. 53 percent responded “yes” while 47 percent responded “no.”

The billionaire businessman suggested in a CNN interview Monday that he might skip the debate because Fox News host Megyn Kelly is one of the moderators.

“I don’t like her. She doesn’t treat me fairly. I’m not a big fan of hers at all,” Trump said, adding that he was not 100 percent certain he’d participate.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

“If I think I’m going to be treated unfairly, I’ll do something else,” he said. “But I don’t think she can treat me fairly actually. I think she’s very biased and I don’t think she can treat me fairly.”

At the time, a Fox News spokesperson released a similar statement in response to the threat.

“Sooner or later Donald Trump, even if he’s president, is going to have to learn that he doesn’t get to pick the journalists—we’re very surprised he’s willing to show that much fear about being questioned by Megyn Kelly,” a network spokesperson said.

Trump first brought up the issue of Kelly moderating Thursday’s debate over the weekend. In a tweet, he said she should not allowed to question him, alleging she had demonstrated “bias” and had a “conflict of interest.”

A Fox News spokesperson said at the time that Kelly “has no conflict of interest” and thanked Trump for “trying to build up the audience” for the debate.

The billionaire businessman has been at odds with Kelly since the first Republican debate last year. Trump alleged the questions from the Fox News moderators, chiefly Kelly, were unfair and aimed at sinking his candidacy. He subsequently unleashed a weeks-long attack on the network host.

For her part, Kelly has refused to return fire against Trump. She briefly addressed the “dust up” for a few minutes on her program and in an interview with Charlie Rose.

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