Donald Trump resumed his Twitter attacks on Megyn Kelly this week, so Fox News Channel fired back on Friday. (AP Photos/John Minchillo)

The Republican debate season is over — no need to worry about boycotts anymore — and Fox News Channel is holding nothing back in its condemnation of Donald Trump's latest fusillade against network star Megyn Kelly.

The top-rated cable news channel issued the following statement Friday evening in response to yet another series of nasty and personal remarks by the GOP presidential front-runner:

Donald Trump's vitriolic attacks against Megyn Kelly and his extreme, sick obsession with her is beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate who wants to occupy the highest office in the land. Megyn is an exemplary journalist and one of the leading anchors in America. We're extremely proud of her phenomenal work and continue to fully support her throughout every day of Trump's endless barrage of crude and sexist verbal assaults. As the mother of three young children, with a successful law career and the second highest rated show in cable news, it's especially deplorable for her to be repeatedly abused just for doing her job.

Following a cease-fire that straddled a Fox News debate on March 3, which Kelly moderated, Trump resumed his attacks against the "Kelly File" host on Tuesday, during coverage of primary voting in Florida, Ohio and three other states. His mean-spirited Twitter commentary extended into Friday evening, when he called Kelly the "most overrated person on TV."

Trump's ire can be traced to the first debate of the election, last August, when Kelly recounted some of his most demeaning statements about women and asked whether he possesses the "temperament" to be president. The next day, the billionaire real estate magnate posited that Kelly had "blood coming out of her wherever" and proceeded to maker her a frequent target of ridicule on social media in the ensuing months.

The next time Fox News sponsored a debate, in January, Trump pressured the network to remove Kelly as a moderator; when Fox refused, he pulled out of the event.

This month, however, during a phase in which Trump seemed determined to show how "diplomatic" he can be, he participated in a third Fox debate and managed to be civil toward Kelly.

"Nice to be with you, Megyn," Trump said in greeting. "You're looking well."

This week, the animus returned in Trump's primary-night tweets and his declaration the next morning that he would again skip a Fox News debate, scheduled for Monday in Salt Lake City. John Kasich subsequently said he would not attend without a full field, and the event fell apart.

There are no more debates on the calendar — and seemingly no more reasons for either side to suppress their true feelings. Fox has defended Kelly before, sometimes with tongue in cheek. When Trump griped about being treated "unfairly" by Kelly in January, for instance, the network said this:

We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president. A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.

But there was no attempt at humor on Friday. Fox just reared back and let Trump have it.

Republican Donald Trump skipped the debate where Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly co-moderated. Here's a look back at the clash that started with an earlier debate in August 2015. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)