Republican frontrunner Donald Trump once complimented Fox News host Megyn Kelly for her performance moderating a GOP debate in 2011.

Trump spoke to Kelly in 2011 about his frustration with candidates refusing to participate in a debate he was set to host with NewsMax. The businessman implied the Republican candidates declining invitations to attend his debate lacked “courage.”

He then heaped praise on Kelly.

“Do you really think you’re a better moderator than I am?” Kelly asked.

“No,” Trump promptly replied. “I could never beat you. That wouldn’t even be close. That would be no contest.”

The billionaire added, “You have done a great job, by the way. And I mean it.”

Trump’s 2011 comments surfaced on the Internet late Tuesday after his campaign announced he would not participate in Fox News’ Thursday debate. At a news conference, Trump said his decision was in part influenced by the network’s refusal to remove Kelly as a moderator.

Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: