Newt Gingrich and Megyn Kelly got into an explosive debate on Fox News Tuesday night as two parallel universes within the Republican Party collided in real time on live television.
Gingrich blamed Fox News for Donald Trump’s slide in the polls, saying the media has an unfair, unrelenting focus on his sex life and that Kelly has a "fascination with sex."
Kelly pointed out that it was Trump himself who set the scandal in motion when his voice was heard on tape saying he likes to "grab 'em by the pussy." There was then a subsequent flurry of sexual assault accusations from more than a dozen women.
Here's the full exchange between Kelly and Gingrich. Kelly began by asking Gingrich if Trump is a "sexual predator," prompting Gingrich to erupt in anger:
GINGRICH: He’s not a sexual predator!
KELLY: Okay, I’m not saying that — that’s your opinion.
GINGRICH: You cannot defend that statement. I’m sick and tired of people like you using language that’s inflammatory that’s not true! I think that is exactly the bias that people are upset by!
KELLY: Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, you have no idea if that’s true or not.
GINGRICH: Neither do you!
KELLY: That’s right. … I think that your defensiveness on this may speak volumes, sir. … If Donald Trump is a sexual predator, then it’s a big story. And what we saw on that tape was Trump himself saying that he likes to grab women by the genitals and kiss them against their will.
That’s what we saw. Then we saw 10 women come forward after he actually denied doing it at a debate, to say: "That was untrue; He did it to me; he did it to me." We saw reporters, we saw people who had worked with him, people from Apprentice, and so on and so forth. He denies it all, which is his right — we don’t know what the truth is.
GINGRICH: You are fascinated with sex and you don’t care about public policy! And that’s what I get out of watching you tonight.
Gingrich: "We’re living in two alternate universes"
The segment began with Kelly asking Gingrich, a Trump supporter, if nominating Trump had been a mistake. Gingrich refused to recognize that Trump looks headed for a lopsided defeat.
Kelly proceeded to tick off all the overwhelming evidence that Hillary Clinton is both ahead and increasing her lead, and Gingrich essentially dismissed it as not trustworthy. That eventually put Gingrich in the position of suggesting that Fox News, where he is a paid contributor, is a part of the "establishment" whose polling of the election cannot be trusted:
GINGRICH: The next two weeks are a contest of two parallel universes … Republicans are actually outvoting Democrats in Florida; they’re outvoting Democrats in Pennsylvania. That is unprecedented.
KELLY: Really? You think Trump is going to win Pennsylvania?
GINGRICH: I think he might. All I can report to you right now is they’re outvoting the Democrats right now in Pennsylvania.
KELLY: But all the polls put her ahead in Pennsylvania.
GINGRICH: I know, I just told you, we’re living in two alternate universes.
KELLY: All of the moves on this map over the last three weeks — by Cook, by Larry Sabato, by the Fox News Decision Desk — show the country moving left. These are nonpartisan outlets just trying to call the scoreboard.
GINGRICH: These aren’t "nonpartisan" outlets. Everything you described is part of the establishment.
KELLY: Fox News? Really? I don’t think so.
GINGRICH: Oh, come on.
Update: On Wednesday morning, Gingrich responded with the comeback he evidently wished he could have thought of at the time:
For the record, @megynkelly was wrong, i don't have anger management issues. I do have media bias issues!— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) October 26, 2016