Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) accused Fox News host Megyn Kelly of being “fascinated by sex” on Tuesday, after snapping at her for asking about the women who have accused Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump of sexual assault.
The exchange on “The Kelly File” was a snapshot of how the Trump campaign is attempting to spin allegations of sexual assault by more than a dozen accusers against their candidate. First: deny them. Next: lash out at the questioner for asking. Finally: pivot to former President Bill Clinton.
Gingrich ran through the routine in short order. He said he was “sick and tired of people like” Kelly using the words “sexual predator” for Trump, who was caught on a 2005 tape bragging how he uses his fame to kiss women or grope them without consent, but now says it was simply “locker room talk.”
Kelly, who has clashed with Trump in the past, said she wasn’t saying she knew for certain whether Trump was a sexual predator ― although she noted that he did say he “likes to grab women by the genitals and kiss them against their will.” But she said it’s her obligation as a journalist to cover the allegations.
That’s when Gingrich went off.
“You are fascinated with sex and you don’t care about public policy,” Gingrich said. “That’s what I get out of watching you tonight.”
“I’m not fascinating by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office,” Kelly replied.
Gingrich, who seconds earlier was complaining that Kelly talked about sexual assault allegations rather than public policy, then brought up allegations against Bill Clinton, the husband of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Kelly said her program had covered Bill Clinton’s past and the allegations against him extensively.
“But he’s not on the ticket,” she said. “And the polls also show that the American public is less interested in the deeds of Hillary Clinton’s husband than they are in the deeds of the man who asks us to make him president, Donald Trump.”
Kelly ended her interview with a jab at Gingrich.
“We’re going to have to leave it at that,” she said, “and you can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them, Mr. Speaker.”
“You too,” Gingrich replied.
The Trump campaign was apparently pleased with Gingrich’s performance ― campaign social media director Dan Scavino tweeted that the former speaker “destroyed” Kelly, along with a threat that something would happen to her after the election.
Trump gave Gingrich a shout-out for the interview during an appearance at his Trump International Hotel on Wednesday.
“Congratulations, Newt, on last night,” he said. “That was an amazing interview. That was an amazing ― we don’t play games, Newt, right?”
Gingrich, meanwhile, said Wednesday morning that he doesn’t need to work on his anger.
This article has been updated with additional comments from Trump and Gingrich.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.