Fox News defends Megyn Kelly after Donald Trump says she shouldn't be 'allowed' to moderate the next debate

Fox News isn’t backing down after Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said host Megyn Kelly shouldn’t moderate the network’s primary debate next Thursday.

“Megyn Kelly has no conflict of interest. Donald Trump is just trying to build up the audience for Thursday’s debate, for which we thank him,” a Fox News spokesperson told Business Insider on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Trump declared on Twitter that Kelly had a “conflict of interest,” and therefore “should not be allowed to be a moderator of the next debate.”

Trump further criticised Kelly at a Saturday-afternoon campaign rally.

“She’s very biased. She’s very biased. She has a conflict I think. Her hatred and her bias, I think, gives her a conflict. So maybe she’ll drop out as a professional. And she’s a professional,” he told his supporters in Pella, Iowa.

Trump has raged against Kelly since last August, when she was one of three moderators at the first Fox-hosted primary debate. Kelly infuriated Trump at the time by asking a rather pointed question about disparaging comments he’s made about women’s looks.

Fox News told The Los Angeles Times in August that the three moderators of that debate — Kelly, as well as Fox anchors Bret Baier and Chris Wallace — would be returning to moderate the network’s January debate.

Since then, Trump has waged an on-again-off-again war against Fox News, with many of his attacks aimed at Kelly. Trump drew backlash after twice promoting tweets calling Kelly a “bimbo.” He also once criticised Kelly with an infamous comment that many interpreted as a crude reference to menstruation. Trump claimed he was being misinterpreted.

Kelly has declined to respond directly to Trump’s frequent attacks, though the real-estate mogul has fumed on Twitter when she hosted his critics on “The Kelly File,” though she also interviews his supporters.

NOW WATCH: Here’s how President Obama starts every morning

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.