Two of the biggest stars in the Fox News firmament are trading increasingly ice cold barbs over - among other things - interview access to Donald Trump.
On her show on Fox on Wednesday, Kelly needled Hannity for his nigh exclusive access to the Republican presidential hopeful: “Donald Trump, with all due respect to my friend at 10 o’clock, will go on 'Hannity' and pretty much only 'Hannity' and will not venture out to the unsafe spaces these days which doesn’t exactly expand the tent for either one of them,” Kelly said, using the “safe space” term that has become a scorching insult among social conservatives.
The feud between the two hosts exploded into the open after Trump’s first debate opposite Hillary Clinton. As cameras turned to Hannity talking live to Trump immediately after, Kelly was withering in her appraisal of his exclusive.
“We've got Trump speaking to our own Sean Hannity,” she said, adding icily “We'll see if he speaks to the journalists in this room after that interview.”
That pointed crack illustrated the increasingly Shakespearean atmosphere at Fox News in the aftermath of Roger Ailes resignation and the sexual harassment accusations that preceded it.
Hannity, unable to let Kelly’s remarks pass, tweeted tartly back at her that she should direct her ire at Hillary Clinton, adding: "Clearly you support her."
Trump’s rise has divided not just the country but even the stars at Fox News now, most of whom now find themselves locked out of interview offers as he looks to secure the most favorable coverage.
The station is set to celebrate its twentieth birthday today in a work environment that looks far from festive.
Indeed the atmosphere has become so Macbeth-ish that the stations top anchors are now indulging in unheard of cat fights on screen.
For the uninitiated, calling someone a Hillary supporter is the worst insult in the entire conservative arsenal. There is no coming back from it. So these skirmishes underline what most observers already know: Trump’s unexpected rise has contributed to an unexpected civil war within the network.
Kelly has previously revealed that, unlike most of her most prominent coworkers at Fox News, she doesn’t identify as a conservative.
"I'm an independent,” she told Variety in 2015, insisting she has voted for both Democratic and Republican candidates. "I'm not rooting for anybody. I'm a Fox News anchor, and I have no horse in the race. I can give anyone a hard time."
Tell Sean Hannity, he knows all about it.