Donald Trump’s feelings toward Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly are well-documented. He thinks she’s a “lightweight” and re-tweeted someone calling her a “bimbo,” and he even apparently has a theory about the effect of menstruation on her lines of questioning.
But according to Kelly, it wasn’t always so. In an interview for the February issue of Vanity Fair, which features the 45-year-old journalist on the cover, Kelly reports that the Republican presidential front-runner used to be an admirer.
In the past, she says, “he would send me press clippings about me that he would just sign ‘Donald Trump.’ And he called from time to time to compliment a segment. I didn’t know why he was doing that. And then when he announced that he was running for president, it became more clear. But I can’t be wooed. I was never going to love him, and I was never going to hate him.”
The Vanity Fair story, which notes Kelly’s “shapely legs,” carries the suggestion of a creep factor. Reporter Evgenia Peretz, delving into Kelly’s tough question about Trump's ad hominem attacks on women during the first Republican debate, writes that “Trump probably didn’t imagine he’d be next. After all, in his mind, what beautiful woman didn’t want to go to bed with him, right? When I remark to Kelly and her husband that Trump sounded like a jilted suitor after she asked her now famous sexism question, they share a knowing look, and Kelly proceeds cautiously.”
Before we jump to stalkerish conclusions, let’s remember that Trump has a habit of sending handwritten notes — complimentary and otherwise — to many media personalities, including The Fix’s own Chris Cillizza, whose legs I would not describe as “shapely.” (Sorry, Chris.) If you find Trump’s outreach to Kelly a little weird, fine. But it was nothing unusual for him.
The real significance of Trump’s previous flattery and subsequent derision of Kelly is what it reveals about his personality: He is a master of expedience. He’s said as much in recent days, while trying to explain away his earlier coziness with the Clintons.
“I’m dubbed a world-class businessman, which frankly that’s what I am, and I got along with everybody,” Trump said on NBC’s “Today” show last week. “I got along with the Clintons, the Republicans, the Democrats, the liberals, the conservatives. That was my obligation as a businessman.”
Trump’s approach has certainly served him well in business, but his willingness to be so two-faced with Kelly, Hillary Clinton and others suggests a lack of principle — further evidenced by flip-flops on other issues, such as abortion and single-payer health care.
Trump’s conservative base doesn’t care about his turning on media types; in fact, they seem to love it. But they should care about what it means: Trump stands for whatever seems advantageous right now. He seems no more certain to stay in the conservative tent than he was in Megyn Kelly Fan Club.