It was a made-for-primetime event, months in the making. After more than half a year of public (and largely one-sided) feuding, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump sat down with Fox News star Megyn Kelly for an interview that aired on the FOX broadcast network last night. The program began with a video recap of the billionaire's tempestuous, and often acrimonious, relationship Kelly -- complete with a presidential debate no-show, a failed boycott of her cable news show, and a series of demeaning tweets and comments. The full interview is below, followed by a few quick reactions:
If you're pressed for time, here are a few notable moments (time-stamped for your convenience):
(1) Trump refuses to concede that his nasty, personal tweet regarding the physical appearance of Ted Cruz's wife was a mistake (6:09)
(2) Kelly asks about Trump's brother, who "was an alcoholic and died at a relatively young age." Trump reflects on his sibling's curtailed life and discusses his decision never to drink a drop of alcohol.
(3) "When I'm wounded, I go after people hard. Okay? And I try to un-wound myself." Perhaps the most interesting insight into Trump's psyche in the entire exchange. (9:40)
(4) A back-and-forth on Kelly's first debate question regarding his treatment of women that famously triggered Trump's fury, including an interesting discussion on the role of a free and independent press in America's political system. (11:03)
(5) "Bimbo?" Kelly confronts Trump with his retweet seen 'round the web, prompting a sheepish quasi-apology. (17:15).
(6) "If I don't win..." Trump on how he'd feel about his campaign if he doesn't prevail in the fall against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. (19:05)
(7) The lightning round, featuring a bit of a confession from Trump about that aforementioned boycott.
Overall, the interview was worthwhile. The footage was clearly edited heavily due to time constraints, but the subject matter covered was interesting -- and the spectacle of these two people finally sitting down face-to-face was a major tune-in factor unto itself. Some critics of the segment have complained that it was too self-referential and light on policy substance. There may be some validity to both critiques, but Megyn Kelly Presents is not The Kelly File. It's not a hard-hitting news program; it's a news magazine, featuring interviews with big names from across a spectrum of significant industries. This format calls for the hybrid, human-interest approach Kelly pursued. One may quibble with the number of questions and amount of airtime devoted to The Feud, but how could they have ignored, or even glanced over the obvious elephant in the room? The audience wanted to see that topic explored at some length. They got what they wanted. The show drew nearly five million viewers and marked a significant ratings uptick for FOX in that time slot.