The Republican presidential candidates return to the debate stage tonight on Fox Business Network — but don’t expect an encore of one of the more electric past exchanges on the network.
Fox News prime-time star Megyn Kelly is absent from tonight’s televised debate, the sixth among the GOP contenders. The debate will instead be moderated by anchors Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo, because the pair are the big stars of the Fox news org.
Still, another round would have been juicy, because Kelly was the first television journalist to call billionaire Donald Trump on his sexist remarks. The exchange went viral on social networks as Trump continued his battle on Twitter — his attack vehicle of choice — which Kelly largely ignored.
Vanity Fair did a great job of capturing last August’s debate exchange in its profile of the “Kelly File” host:
To recall: “You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. … You once told a contestant on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton … that you are part of the war on women?” Trump tried to laugh it off mid-question, saying that those insults were directed only at Rosie O’Donnell, but Kelly wouldn’t let him off. He then complained, “Honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be based on the way you’ve treated me.” The following night, he suggested to Fox News’ rival network CNN that the reason she was so hostile was that she was probably menstruating: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” When that didn’t rattle her, Trump lashed out on Twitter, calling her a “lightweight,” re-tweeting that she was a “bimbo,” and stoking his supporters to boycott her show. Kelly took the high road and said on-air that she had no reason to apologize to Trump, and that she would “continue doing my job without fear or favor.”
Don’t expect any such fireworks tonight. But if you want to relive the moment, you can watch it here:
Update from Fox News: Kelly is set to moderate the next Fox News Channel debate, along with Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, on Jan. 28 in Iowa.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.