Property magnate Donald Trump broke his Fox News boycott Tuesday night.
The Republican presidential front-runner appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor” just one week after he said he would not be appearing on Fox shows “for the foreseeable future”
Though Bill O’Reilly did not mention Trump’s feud with the network, the host did confront Trump more generally about whether he was being “mature” on the campaign trail.
“Am I fair to say that in order for you to win the Republican nomination, that you’re going to have to change your style and be a bit kinder and more mature. Is that a fair question?” O’Reilly asked.
Trump said he found the question fair but thought the word “mature” was inappropriate. He went on to tout his own poll numbers and argue that the 2016 contest will be about competence, not kindness.
“You have to be kind of presidential,” O’Reilly countered, playing a video clip from last week in which Trump called presidential rival and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) a “clown.”
“Now would I be unfair to say to you — which I would if we were at a Yankee game — ‘Hey, calling Sen. Rubio a ‘clown’ was not presidential,'” O’Reilly continued. “Calling him a ‘clown,’ that’s not presidential. … It’s the ‘clown stuff’ that’s not fine.”
Trump insisted that he started attacking Rubio after the senator threw the first punch by bashing his national-security credentials earlier last week. The two have been repeatedly trading shots since then.
“I’m a counter-puncher. He hit me all of a sudden,” Trump said while trashing Rubio’s “unbelievably weak” immigration-policy record. “He hit me very viciously.”
The real-estate developer’s Fox News interview followed his on-again-off-again battle with the network.
The fight exploded out into the open after the Fox-hosted presidential debate in August. Megyn Kelly, a debate moderator who hosts “The Kelly File,” asked Trump a number of tough questions, including one about derogatory remarks he’s made about women.
After the debate, Trump repeatedly tore into Kelly for being unfair to him and kicked the feud to the next level with comment that many interpreted to be a crude reference to menstruation. Trump said he was being misinterpreted but continued ripping Kelly on Twitter.
Fox News chief Roger Ailes brokered a truce with Trump and both sides said they settled their differences. But that ease-fire ended later in August after Trump unleashed a tweetstorm slamming Kelly and sharing a supporter’s message calling her a “bimbo.”
Trump eventually started doing regular interviews on the network again. But last week he suddenly started attacking O’Reilly and Kelly for bringing “Trump haters” onto their shows. He further called Kelly “the worst” and said that O’Reilly “was very negative to me in refusing to post the great polls that came out.”
“[Fox News] has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won’t be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future,” he wrote.
But that boycott is apparently off. Trump and Fox executives are reportedly set to meet sometime this week in order to discuss the network’s coverage of his campaign.
For his part, O’Reilly ended his Trump interview by asking the candidate to confirm that it was a “fair” discussion. Trump said it was indeed a fair interview.
Watch the Trump interview below:
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