After Trump on Friday called Kelly "sick" and "crazy" on Twitter and appealed to supporters to boycott her show, the network went to bat, labeling Trump's attacks "deplorable," and "beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate."
Trump has been feuding with Kelly since the first Republican debate in August, when she questioned his views on women. He seemed to have reached a truce with her during a debate earlier this month, but inexplicably began lambasting her on Twitter again Tuesday night, as he was racking up primary victories.
Fox News on Friday released its strongest statement yet on the subject.
"Donald Trump’s vitriolic attacks against Megyn Kelly and his extreme, sick obsession with her is beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate who wants to occupy the highest office in the land," a network spokesman said.
The network called Kelly an "exemplary journalist and one of the leading anchors in America," and said it would defend her against “Trump’s endless barrage of crude and sexist verbal assaults.”
Trump complained after the August debate that Kelly had asked him an unfair question. He seemed to link her tactics as a moderator to menstruation, saying Kelly had "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever."
After Fox refused Trump’s request to drop Kelly as a moderator for a January debate, Trump decided he wouldn’t show up. The two met again for the first time at a debate in early March, and had a much more civil interaction.
UPDATE: 11 p.m. -- Trump's campaign doubled down, issuing a statement calling Kelly's show "extremely biased."
"Mr. Trump will continue to defend himself against the inordinate amount of unfair and inaccurate coverage he receives on her second-rate show each night," the statement said.