Megyn Kelly says Trump campaign ‘didn’t much care’ about death threats against her

Megyn Kelly says that Fox News contacted Donald Trump’s campaign after she received death threats from Trump supporters following their clash during the first Republican presidential debate.

And the Trump campaign’s initial response, according to Kelly, was a shrug.

Kelly told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Fox News executive vice president Bill Shine called Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, who had retweeted a message directed at Kelly that read, “Let’s gut her.”

“You’ve got to stop this,” Shine told Cohen, according to Kelly. “Like, we understand you are angry, but this is, you know, she’s got three little kids, she’s walking around New York, really.”

But Cohen “didn’t much care,” Kelly said.

Related: O’Reilly: Kelly made Fox News ‘look bad’ by airing Ailes allegations

According to Kelly, it was only after Shine put the threats toward Kelly in blunt terms that Team Trump backed off.

“Let me put it to you in terms you can understand,” Shine told Cohen. “If Megyn Kelly gets killed, it’s not going to help your candidate.”

During the first GOP primetime debate in Cleveland, Kelly, the co-moderator, opened by questioning Trump’s past comments about women.

“You called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” Kelly told Trump. “You once told a contestant on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.”

“Honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry,” Trump said. “I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be based on the way you have treated me, but I wouldn’t do that.”

This combination made from Aug. 6, 2015 photos shows Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and Fox News host and moderator Megyn Kelly during the first Republican presidential debate in Cleveland. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Donald Trump and Fox News host and moderator Megyn Kelly during the first Republican presidential debate, in Cleveland in August 2015. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon the next day, Trump appeared to suggest Kelly attacked him because she had her period.

“You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes,” he said. “Blood coming out of her, wherever.”

According to Kelly, she had spoken with Trump prior to the debate about a segment that he was unhappy with on her primetime show. At the end of the call, Kelly said, he threatened to go after her on social media.

“We had had a tough exchange on the Monday before that Thursday debate,” Kelly recalled. “He was angry about a segment I had done the prior week involving his divorce from Ivana Trump. … He was very angry that I aired that segment.”

“Ultimately, I said, ‘Look, Mr. Trump, you don’t control the editorial in ‘The Kelly File,'” Kelly continued. “And that was it. He said, ‘That’s it. You’re a disgrace. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.’ And then, he said, ‘Oh, I almost unleashed my beautiful Twitter account against you and I still may.'”

A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign did not immediately return a request seeking comment. But in any case, Trump apparently followed through with the threat. The businessman attacked Kelly on Twitter for months and months, sharing risqué photos of her, promoting a doctored photo of her supposedly with a Saudi prince and repeatedly calling her a “bimbo.”

Kelly recounted the exchange in her new book, “Settle for More,” which was released this week. Critics have questioned why she chose not to reveal her conversation with Trump until after the election.

The Fox News star doesn’t believe it would have made any difference.

“I mean, do you think if the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape didn’t make a difference and the 12 female accusers didn’t make a difference and the Khan family and Judge Curiel, none of that mattered — [but] that, you know, he mentioned his beautiful Twitter account was going to be a game-changer?” Kelly asked. “You know, my approach was I wanted to be honest, so I had revealed that I received some death threats and that I had a guard and, you know, that the level was getting a little dangerous, but I didn’t want to make it any more about me. … I didn’t want to be the story.”