NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Donald Trump has resumed his war of words against Megyn Kelly. And it looks like Fox News isn’t going to stay silent about it.
Trump is “totally out of control” and his Twitter attacks are “totally unwarranted,” Kelly’s colleague Brian Kilmeade said on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning.
Several other Fox hosts, reporters and commentators also rebuked Trump online. Jedediah Bila, a rotating host of the 12 p.m. talk show “Outnumbered,” called Trump’s comments about Kelly “childish and in poor taste.”
Anchor Bret Baier, who moderated the debate alongside Kelly, tweeted that Trump “has made his feelings clear. But THIS needs to stop.”
They were reacting to a new storm of tweets from Trump, who said Kelly was “off her game” and retweeted people who called her a “bimbo” and “a waste” on Monday night.
Bill Hemmer, a morning news anchor on Fox, flagged the “bimbo” retweet and wrote, “Easy, Mr. Trump.”
Fox’s Geraldo Rivera also weighed in via Twitter, writing, “Wish pal @realDonaldTrump would cool feud with @megynkelly Point is made boss. Now world needs you to use bully pulpit to address big issues.”
Dana Perino, co-host of “The Five,” wrote, “The intelligence, class & grace of Megyn Kelly shined last night after her week’s vacation with her family.”
The outpouring of support for Kelly had some of the hallmarks of a coordinated effort.
Fox personalities by and large refrained from talking about Trump’s earlier attacks against Kelly. Maybe now they’ve had enough.
Trump recoiled at Kelly’s tough questioning at Fox’s GOP debate on August 6 and has been complaining about her ever since.
Kelly has sought to take the high road. While some Trump supporters have pilloried her on social networking sites, her ratings haven’t been dented by the controversy. If anything, her debate performance and the ensuing controversy has lifted her profile and her ratings.
For Fox, the situation is exceedingly delicate. Fox News chairman Roger Ailes views Kelly as the network’s biggest star — particularly looking ahead to the coming years — but also knows Trump is an important news story, a highly influential figure and a ratings magnet.
Ailes tried to broker a truce with Trump in the days after the debate, but it doesn’t seem to be holding.
When Kelly went on vacation one week after the debate, Trump bought into the conspiracy theory that had circulated among his supporters that she’d been sidelined as a sort of punishment for her debate performance.
In fact, Kelly’s vacation was scheduled well ahead of time, and Fox News called it “bizarre” that Trump would think otherwise.
On Monday, Kelly returned and Trump was watching. Before her 9 p.m. hour was over, he tweeted that “I liked The Kelly File much better without Megyn Kelly. Perhaps she could take another eleven day unscheduled vacation!”
Trump had appeared on another Fox News program, “The O’Reilly Factor,” earlier in the evening.
Will he appear on Fox again this week, given his renewed criticism of Kelly? The network is not currently promoting any upcoming appearances.
Kilmeade seemingly went out of his way to defend Kelly on Tuesday morning, bringing up Trump’s Twitter rant after covering Trump and Jeb Bush’s latest squabble.
Trump is a frequent guest on “Fox & Friends,” and Kilmeade called him a “friend,” but had a sharply worded message for him.
“He is totally out of bounds reigniting that fight,” Kilmeade said. “I don’t know if he expects to get ratings out of that, or poll numbers, but he’s not going to be successful.”
He also said, “You can not, you should not, keep going after her.”
The Fox hosts rallied around Kelly a day after Rupert Murdoch, whose media conglomerate owns Fox News, urged former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for president in response to Trump becoming a “very serious candidate.”