Republican candidate for President Donald Trump speaks after his Indiana Primary victory at Trump Tower on May 3, 2016 in New York City. Trump sat down with Fox News host Megyn Kelly for a national interview, largely ending a feud that's been simmering between the two for months. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK, May 17 (UPI) -- In what was a civil interview despite months of on-and-off feuding, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told Megan Kelly she "did [him] a favor" by asking tough debate questions.
The moment came during the first Republican debate, which drew a record audience for a cable news broadcast. The question, now infamous, was Kelly quoting Trump's harsh insults of various women. It sparked a furious back-and-forth between the two on Twitter and, in hindsight, was the beginning of a media wave — some positive in tone, but much more of it negative — that Trump has ridden ever since.
Kelly, conducting a prime time interview special in the mold of those done by the now-retired Barbara Walter, asked Trump why he objected to a fair question about his past statements.
"I thought it was unfair. ... I don't really blame you because you're doing your thing. But from my standpoint, I don't have to like it," he said.
Trump went on to offer Kelly a compliment of sorts: "In a certain way, you did me a favor. ... If I can get through those questions, I can get through anything."
Referencing their detente, which Kelly instigated by requesting a private meeting between the two, Trump commended Kelly.
"I have great respect for you, that you were able to call me and say 'let's talk.' I would not have done that," he said.
Trump also admitted various mistakes he's made on the campaign trail — sort of. Kelly asked whether he would categorize as mistakes his decision to retweet an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz, mock rival Carly Fiorina's face or question Sen. John McCain's military record for being captured in Vietnam.
Trump acknowledged he could have "done without" the firestorm he created by attacking a rival's wife's appearance. Speaking generally, Trump said it was a mistake, but that he would not take it back if he could: "Yeah, I guess so, but you have to go forward. You make a mistake, you go forward."
Both Trump and Kelly live-tweeted the interview, which was aired nationally on Fox's flagship network, rather than Fox News. Unlike after previous encounters, neither offered sharp words for the other.