In a Tuesday afternoon rapid response to Fox News chief Roger Ailes, Donald Trump conspicuously promoted the fact that CNN, a rival cable news network, will offer a live broadcast of his speech in Iowa tonight.
After slamming Fox’s Megyn Kelly in the statement with “I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist,” Trump flexes his growing political star-power by promoting CNN: “I will be in Iowa tonight with my speech being live on CNN and other networks,” Trump writes.
With his late night tweets, Trump once again stole the news cycle from the rest of the Republican field by reigniting his feud with Kelly — a full two weeks after everyone thought it was over.
This afternoon, Ailes released a statement defending Kelly and demanding Trump apologize.
Where things stand now is that Trump is refusing to apologize, defiantly promoting CNN, and undoubtedly eager to see if CNN’s live coverage of his Iowa speech beats the powerful primetime line-up at Fox News (should they choose not to cover it).
Overall, though, while many in the media and Republican Establishment are writing Trump’s attacks on Kelly off as petty and thin-skinned, methinks they might once again be under-estimating the billionaire businessman.
By fearlessly and relentlessly going after a very powerful journalist who works at a very powerful network who he believes treated him unfairly, Trump is sending a painfully obvious message to the rest of the mainstream media: If you don’t treat me fairly you will pay a price.
Call it intimidation. Call it negotiation. Whatever you want to call it, we have never before seen a Republican candidate stand up in this way to the media.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC