The war between billionaire GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and Fox News boiled over last night when Trump skipped the network’s presidential debate.
Instead of debating his Republican rivals, Trump hosted his own Iowa event that he claims raised $6 million to support veterans.
But is there more to the feud between Trump and Fox than meets the eye? The Horn News dug in and found five interesting facts about their spat that many in the media aren’t talking about.
- Trump wanted millions to debate: Trump knows his participation in previous GOP debates has been ratings gold, and has joked that he should receive an appearance fee. But it doesn’t look like he was kidding any more when it came to Fox. The network alleges that Trump asked for a $5 million donation to veterans’ charities in order to appear in the debate.
- Fox tried to “hug it out” with Trump: Desperate to avoid losing the GOP’s biggest star, Fox allegedly apologized to Trump to try to lure him back to his debate podium. In particular, Trump says Fox apologized for a snarky press release the network issued joking about how world leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn’t treat Trump fairly either.
- Trump’s promise to donate millions to veterans is drawing heat: While Trump is claiming to have raised $6 million for veterans through his Iowa event — which drew massive donations from celebrities like famed investor Carl Icahn — media outlets have been raising questions about exactly which veterans groups would benefit. The Trump campaign eventually released a list, although several leading veterans organizations contacted by reporters had previously said they had not heard from anyone on Trump’s staff. The snafu is likely the result of how quickly the event came together, and Trump has given generously to many veterans charities over the years.
- Cable news may have conspired to hold down Trump’s ratings: Overnight ratings showed that more people tuned into the Fox debate than Trump’s Iowa event. But those figures are incredibly misleading. Trump put together his event in just a couple days’ time and had to scramble for networks to pick it up. Plus, major outlets like CNN cut away from Trump’s event after just a few minutes. But Trump was the most searched candidate on Google last night and the most mentioned candidate on social media sites like Twitter. It’s clear that if more networks covered the Trump event, he likely would have trounced Fox.
- The Donald upset a Saudi prince — and former business associate — during his Fox feud: Trump retweeted a badly Photoshopped image of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Fox personality Megyn Kelly — and it looks like the stunt went over like a lead balloon. The prince replied bashing Trump, claiming he had twice bailed out Trump financially in the past. The prince reportedly bought a yacht and hotel from Trump over the years during times when Trump was facing significant debt. You can see the exchange below:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2016
— الوليد بن طلال (@Alwaleed_Talal) January 28, 2016