Donald Trump was the driving force behind NBC host Megyn Kelly’s decision to leave Fox News for a slot in the “Today” show lineup, according to an interview she had with Ellen DeGeneres on Wednesday.
Appearing on “Ellen,” Kelly recalled that during the 2016 presidential campaign, she began considering whether she really wanted to continue anchoring a politically-focused prime-time show.
“Donald Trump has a way of clarifying one’s life choices,” said the former host of “The Kelly File.”
“That was true in my case, too. Just as I was sort of wondering whether this was where I wanted to be and how I wanted to live, the universe came and sort of shone a light, and it was clear to me what I wanted to do.”
Kelly told DeGeneres that after working as an attorney, she decided to go into journalism to report the news, but she wasn’t really into politics. Then, she realized that the focus during prime time segments was almost entirely on political matters.
“It wasn’t until I got my job in prime time that the coverage became all political,” Kelly said. “And I was never a political person, I wasn’t raised in a political household, and it became clear to me that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. That’s not who I am.”
DeGeneres asked Kelly about Trump’s tweets calling for a boycott of her show, and Kelly explained, “It wasn’t just the tweets. The country’s so divided now, and it’s so political. It’s like politics has become like race; you can’t discuss it at all.”
Kelly recalled how former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly taught her a memorable lesson when she was first starting out in prime time:
“Bill O’Reilly, of all people, told me when I got to cable news prime time that cable news prime time is a snake pit. That’s how it felt. And I didn’t want to be in the snake pit. I just wanted to cover the news, but it has a way of pulling you in over and over and over, and then that becomes your life and that’s not the life I wanted.”
She noted that Trump’s boycott had no negative impact on her ratings.
“My ratings only went up in my year of Trump,” Kelly said, to a burst of applause. “He was very focused. It was just a clarification and an affirmation that I did not want to live like this.”
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