The intense rift between President-elect Donald Trump, who was still a candidate when it all started, and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has been no secret. But in an interview Wednesday with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Kelly opened up about just how severe the schism between her and the billionaire businessman really was.
The Fox host said Trump directed several threats toward her, leading to a year of security guards.
It all started when Kelly aired a segment on Trump's divorce from Ivana Trump. According to the Fox host, The Daily Beast had published a story on rape allegations Ivana made during the divorce, which she later fully recanted, so Kelly invited the journalist on her show "to give him a hard time" because the story was 30 years old. Kelly, for her part, said she was doing Trump "a favor" because "nobody was telling the other side."
But Trump didn't like it at all.
"He said, 'That's it. you're a disgrace, you outta be ashamed of yourself,' and then he said, 'I almost unleashed my beautiful Twitter account against you, and I still may,'" Kelly recalled of a conversation she had with Trump. "And that was four days before the presidential debate, at which I knew I was going to open with a tough question about women — not about Ivana Trump — but about women. So going in, I had some nerves because I had a feeling he wouldn't like it."
And she was right. Trump didn't like that at all, either.
It was after that now-famous encounter — and Trump's subsequent "blood coming out of her wherever" comment — that led Kelly to get a security detail.
"We had security guards the whole year," she told Cooper. "I mean, the threat level just got so high that it was impossible not to take that seriously. And you know, it's not like I was walking around actively believing that somebody was gonna necessarily try something, but it was high enough that we had to take it seriously."
There was, however, a moment, which is outlined in Kelly's new book, "Settle for More," when a Fox executive told the Trump campaign, "It would not be good for you if Megyn Kelly is killed." Of that, Kelly had this to say:
So Michael Cohen, who is Trump's top lawyer and an executive vice president for the Trump Organization, had retweeted "let's gut her" about me, at a time when the threat level was very high, which he knew, and Bill Shine, an executive vice president at Fox, called him up to say, "You gotta stop this. We understand you're angry, but this — she's got three little kids, she's running around New York."
He didn't much care. And what Bill Shine said to Michael Cohen was, "Let me put it to you in terms you can understand: 'If Megyn Kelly gets killed, it's not gonna help your candidate.'"
To those who have criticized her for not making public the threats Trump made against her until after Election Day, Kelly told Cooper she is confident none of it would have made a difference.
"I mean, do you think if the 'Access Hollywood' tape didn't make a difference and the 12 female accusers didn't make a difference and the Khan family and Judge Curiel — none of that mattered — that my, he mentioned his 'beautiful Twitter account,' was gonna be a game changer?" Kelly asked. "[I] didn't want to make it any more about me. Trump kept trying to make the story about me, and the story was about him."
"I felt like a human being who had been dropped into a shark tank," she added. "And there were passersby looking in, slightly horrified at what was going on. And all I wanted to do last year was get myself out of the shark tank."