Donald Trump may have been anxious before the first Republican debate because he believed he was going to be asked about his first wife’s claim - later retracted - that he had raped her, one of the event’s moderators has claimed.
Fox News anchor Megan Kelly, who is promoting a new book and who was one of the moderators for the debate in Cleveland in the summer of 2015, said that that in advance of the event, Mr Trump had complained to officials at her network about what questions she might ask.
In her memoir, Settle for More, she said: “Mr Trump he had ‘heard’ that my first question was a very pointed question directed at him.”
Ms Kelly’s first question was indeed directed at Mr Trump, and she asked him to explain his offensive comments about women, saying he had referred to them as “fat pigs” and “dogs”. Mr Trump later claimed Ms Kelly had asked him the tough question because she was menstruating
But the anchor has revealed in an interview with USA Today, that Mr Trump had been most worried that she would bring up allegations made by the tycoon’s first wife, Ivana Trump.
In divorce papers filed 25 years ago, she has said Mr Trump had raped her during a fight.
The allegation was contained in the the 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J Trump. Ivana Trump would later withdraw the allegation, but said that he had violated her. Mr Trump denied the allegation. Mr Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, said last year that it was impossible in law for a man to rape his wife.
Mr Trump's campaign transition team did not respond to inquiries on Friday.
The newspaper said that a few weeks before the Cleveland debate, Ms Kelly devoted a segment of her programme, The Kelly File, to an interview with the author of a report on The Daily Beast about the rape allegation.
Ms Kelly said that after the segment aired, an angry Mr Trump called and told her that “I almost unleashed my beautiful Twitter account on you, and I still may”.
Ms Kelly, 45, said she did not believe her question leaked to Mr Trump in advance.
“I don’t think he had any idea,” she said. “What I think he was worried about was his divorce from Ivana Trump….He was afraid I was going to bring that up.”
Ms Kelly has said that following the debate, she began to receive death threats and hate mail from supporters of Mr Trump. She felt obliged to travel with bodyguards, she said.