Fox News host Megyn Kelly has a message for the men accusing Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) of sexism: “Butt out.”
In an Wednesday night interview with Paul, Kelly slammed Paul’s male critics who have suggested he is condescending towards female interviewers. Kelly called out NBC host Chuck Todd in particular for saying Paul should be more cautious about how he handles those interviews.
“Chuck Todd came out and said you have to be ‘careful’ because you attacked two prominent female interviewers. The Guardian said you were ‘condescending’ toward female reporters. And I, as a female reporter, will say to Chuck Todd and The Guardian: We don’t need your help,” Kelly said.
Paul drew headlines earlier in the day when he lectured “Today” host Savannah Guthrie about how to conduct a proper interview after she confronted him with allegedly biased questions. Some connected the exchange to Paul’s February interview where he shushed CNBC anchor Kelly Evans. But Kelly said Guthrie and Evans are perfectly capable of defending themselves and don’t need any “sexist” assistance from others.
“Savannah Guthrie doesn’t need your help. Kelly Evans doesn’t need your help. And you are entitled to push back on the interviewer just as much as you would if it were a man. So these male commentators can butt out. We can give as good as we can get,” Kelly continued. “It’s ironic that the people trying to step in and protect these female interviewers are themselves being sexist while they’re suggesting that you were sexist because you didn’t kowtow, and you weren’t polite enough, to your female interviewers.”
However, Kelly did tell Paul that his interviews with Evans and Guthrie raised a “fair” question about whether he is ready for the rigors of the presidential campaign trail. Paul conceded that he needed to improve how he handles the press in general.
“I do lose my cool. And I do lose my temper sometimes. And I should be better at that,” Paul said, attributing some of the contentious interviews to the long-distance nature of the discussions. “Can I do better? Yes. Am I sometimes thin-skinned? Yes. But … when I think of doing an interview with you, I don’t think of whether you’re a man or woman. I think of an intelligent person who’s going to ask me questions.”
Business Insider reached out to Todd for comment on Kelly’s criticism. He declined to weigh in.
“Thanks for asking. But I cover politicians and policy makers not the media,” Todd wrote in an email.
Watch Kelly’s full interview with Paul below. (Her pointed attacks are at the end.)
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