Donald Trump and his team are not happy with how he was treated by Fox News during the network’s Republican presidential debate on Thursday night.
In the wee hours of Friday morning, Trump went off on a Twitter tirade against moderator Megyn Kelly and pollster Frank Luntz, who conducted an on-air focus group that unfavorably reviewed Trump after the debate.
And in a conversation with Business Insider on Friday, Michael Cohen, who is special counsel to Trump, went a step further. Cohen said Fox News’ coverage was clearly part of a “coordinated” effort to stop Trump’s “movement.”
“I don’t know if it was the RNC, or Fox, or whoever, but it certainly appeared to look like an organised attack,” Cohen said. “Obviously, somebody, you know, doesn’t want him to continue to rise in the polls. They need to figure out how to stop this movement.”
Trump is currently the front-runner in Republican primary polls. During the debate, he faced tough questions from Fox News moderators on his past comments about women, his business record, and his controversial positions on immigration. In the hour after the debate, Fox News featured Luntz’s focus group, as well as commentary from hosts and guests who described Trump’s performance as a “collapse.” Cohen described this as an “insidious” attempt to spread the perception Trump lost the debate.
“They attempted to create a negative narrative of Mr. Trump both during and after the debate but failed,” Cohen said. “Their actions are insidious and not in line with viewers or the American people as Mr. Trump won, according to three independent polls.”
Cohen cited polls that appeared on The Drudge Report, Time, and Google to bolster his argument. He also pointed to comments made by Trump’s supporters on social media.
“Clearly, Mr. Trump was seen as the victor,” Cohen said. “Many supporters of Mr. Trump went on Twitter last night to express their anger and outrage over the hostile treatment of Mr. Trump by the moderators and specifically Megyn Kelly.”
A spokesperson for Fox News did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
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