Megyn Explains Why the ‘Hot Mess’ GOP Primary Debate Was ‘Not a Good Night for the Republican Party’

Last night marked the second Republican primary debate, and it was terrible. Between the line of questioning, the lackluster performance from some of the candidates, and the cringe attempts at laugh lines, it seems, yet again, the only real winner was Donald Trump – and he chose not to play. What a hot mess. 

I said yesterday that the debate is a good thing because it’s an opportunity for Republicans to get their ideas out there. It’s a way for the GOP candidates to reinforce the positions that they hold when it comes to the border, when it comes to the economy. I thought that could work to their benefit as we go into the general election. 

I take it all back. They were sniping. They were small ball. They were petty. The moderators were a disaster. I don’t think it was a good night for the Republican Party. It could have been, but it wasn’t. Overall, it was a fail. I won’t give it an F because there were a couple of moments that were okay, but I’m going to give it a D.

The Fox News-Univision Partnership

What on earth was Fox thinking partnering with Univision? This is a leftist news organization that’s basically propaganda. Ilia Calderón cohosts a nightly program with Jorge Ramos. More than anyone, Ramos is responsible for the ‘abandon objectivity’ approach to Donald Trump and to journalism. Having Calderón at the debate was intentional, but that woman had no business being out there at a Republican presidential debate.

I’ve anchored five presidential debates among the GOP primary field. It’s perfectly fine to say, ‘Hey, here’s an issue that is going to be a problem for you if you’re the nominee when you get to the general.’ You can do that. That’s okay. But the issue selection and the way in and out of the questions showed Calderón’s bias time and time and time again. She wasn’t, however, the only one on the stage committing that sin.

The Survivor Question

The debate question about Survivor was an absolute embarrassment. I was embarrassed for Fox News and for Dana Perino. I don’t know why she wrote that question, read that question, and thought that was an appropriate question. It was beneath the dignity of the event, the office that these men and this woman are seeking, and I was shocked that it got through Fox. 

Somebody should have stopped and said, ‘Not appropriate.’ That’s a fun little moment maybe in an interview. But the standards at a presidential debate are higher, the decorum is higher, the expectations are higher, and it’s an embarrassment that that question made the dance especially on the heels of the UFO question in the last debate. I do think Ron DeSantis had his best moment of the night though when he said “absolutely not.”

Maintaining Control

I understand it’s very hard to control these guys when they’re out there talking over each other. The candidates should remember how annoying it is to the people at home when they’re talking over each other. But as a moderator, you at least have the obligation to try. You don’t have superhuman powers out there, but you have to show the audience that you’re trying to maintain control. 

It’s fine to let the candidates mix it up. It’s exciting that they want to weigh in. I get it, we’re having a moment. It’s your job, as moderator, to ride herd on the debate. You make sure you establish control nice and early, so the candidates know who’s in charge. And if they try to speak up again and again, you don’t talk to them. You say, ‘Control room, cut their mic.’ You don’t threaten it. You just do it. That’s it. 

The moderators had no control, and the debate descended into absolute chaos multiple times over the night. It’s one of the reasons why the viewer at home only knows they don’t feel good after watching it. They don’t know why, but they don’t like it. I’m telling you right now: This is why you didn’t feel good.

You can check out Megyn’s full analysis by tuning in to episode 637 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.