There are times when words do not do complete justice to a moment. Tuesday night’s Newt Gingrich-Megyn Kelly showdown is one of those times, which is why we’ve included the clip above of its final moments. (Here’s the full interview, from the top.)
Gingrich, on Fox in his role as a Donald Trump surrogate, had questioned the stories of women who’ve come forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault — and the relative importance of the controversy itself, relative to Hillary Clinton’s alleged misdeeds.
Kelly pushed back. “As a media story, we don’t get to say that 10 women are lying. We have to cover that story, sir,” said the Fox anchor.
“Sure. Okay,” Gingrich said. “So, so it’s worth 23 minutes of the three networks to cover that story, and Hillary Clinton had a secret speech in Brazil to a bank that pays her 225,000 [dollars], saying her dream is an open border where 600 million people could come to America — that’s not worth covering …”
“That is worth covering,” interjected Kelly. “And we did.”
Gingrich was still speaking: “ … I mean, you want to go back through the tapes of your show recently, you are fascinated with sex, and you don’t care about public policy.”
At that point, Kelly glanced up and past the camera, with the look of someone who wasn’t quite sure she’d heard what she thought she’d heard, and needed an instant replay on reality. (We know this look well.)
“Me? Really?” she said, laughing.
“Well, that’s what I get out of watching you tonight,” Gingrich said.
KELLY: “You know what, Mr. Speaker, I’m not fascinated by sex. But I am fascinated by the protection of women …”
KELLY: “ … and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office …”
KELLY: “ … and I think the American voters would like to know …”
GINGRICH: “And, therefore, we’re going to send Bill Clinton back to the East Wing, because after all, you are worried about sexual predators.”
“Yeah, listen, it’s not about me,” Kelly said. “It’s about the women and men of America. And the poll numbers show us that the women of America, in particular, are very concerned about these allegations and, in large part, believe that they are a real issue. And don’t dismiss the women …”
And: resume crosstalk.
GINGRICH: “You want to comment, you want to comment …”
KELLY: “ … don’t dismiss the women summarily.”
GINGRICH: “ … on whether the Clinton — do you want to comment on whether the Clinton ticket has a relationship to a sexual predator.”
KELLY: “We on “The Kelly File’ have covered that story as well, sir. I will tell you, the polls …”
GINGRICH: “No, I just want to hear you use the words. I want to hear you use the words ‘Bill Clinton, sexual predator.’ I dare you. [At that point, Gingrich was smiling slightly. Kelly was not.] “Say ‘Bill Clinton, sexual predator.’”
KELLY: “Mr. Speaker, we’ve covered — excuse me, sir …”
GINGRICH: “Disbarred by the Iowa, by the Arkansas bar.”
KELLY: “Excuse me. excuse me.”
GINGRICH: “Disbarred by the Arkansas bar. Eight hundred fifty thousand dollar penalty.”
KELLY: “ … excuse me, sir. We on ‘The Kelly File’ have covered the Clinton matter as well. We’ve hosted Kathleen Willey …”
GINGRICH: “Well, try saying it.”
KELLY: “ … we’ve covered the examples of him being accused as well, but he’s not on the ticket. And the polls also show that the American public is less interested …”
GINGRICH: “He’ll be in the, he’ll be in the East Wing.”
KELLY: “ … 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. We’re going to have to leave it at that, and you can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them, Mr. Speaker. Thanks for being here.”
GINGRICH: “And you, too.”
It wasn’t clear whether he was responding to the first half of Kelly’s farewell, or the second.
The Trump campaign’s social-media director had some early thoughts.
Gingrich himself wanted to make sure people had seen the faceoff.
Trump himself — whose relationship with Kelly this year has ranged all the way from ice cold to lukewarm, and back again — responded at a midday event at his Washington, D.C. hotel. "Congratulations, Newt, on last night," he said. "That was an amazing interview...We don't play games, Newt, right? We don't play games."
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