Last Updated Oct 26, 2016 12:33 PM EDT
Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and current surrogate for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, had a heated exchange with Fox News host Megyn Kelly late Tuesday night, criticizing her in an interview for being “fascinated with sex” after being asked a question about Trump’s sexual assault accusers.
The uncomfortable back-and-forth began when Kelly asked Gingrich about Trump’s latest slow showing in national polls, including a Fox News poll.
“They’re not nonpartisan outlets,” Gingrich challenged, before Kelly jumped in with: “Fox News? I don’t think so.”
When Kelly moved on to the topic of the nearly dozen allegations of sexual misconduct, Gingrich began a heated exchange.
Gingrich later posted “The Kelly File” clip in full via Twitter:
“I am sick and tired of people like you using language that’s inflammatory -- that’s not true,” he told Kelly.
“Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, you have no idea if it’s true or not,” she replied.
“When you used the words, you took a position and I think it’s very unfair of you to do that, Megyn,” Gingrich went on, jabbing his finger and raising his voice. “I think that’s exactly the bias people are upset by.”
“I think your defensiveness on this may speak volumes, sir,” Kelly responded.
Then Gingrich said this: “You are fascinated with sex, and you don’t care about public policy.”
Kelly, with raised eyebrows, replied: “Me? Really?”
“That’s what I get out of watching you tonight,” Gingrich shot back.
“You know, Mr. Speaker, I’m not fascinated by sex,” Kelly said. “But I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office and I think the American voters would like to know...”
The former House speaker then brought up President Bill Clinton’s own sexual assault allegations.
“You want a comment on whether the Clinton ticket has a relationship to a sexual predator?” Gingrich went on. “I want to hear you use the words ‘Bill Clinton, sexual predator.’ I dare you. Say ‘Bill Clinton, sexual predator.’”
“He’s not on the ticket,” Kelly said, referring to the former president. “The polls also show the American public is less interested in the deeds of Hillary Clinton’s husband than they are in the deeds of the man who asks us to make him president, Donald Trump.”
The public spat continued until Kelly ended the segment.
“We’re going to have to leave it at that,” she said. “And you can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them, Mr. Speaker.”
The following day, at an event in Washington, D.C., Trump applauded Gingrich for the Fox News interview.
“By the way, congratulations, Newt, on last night,” Trump said at the opening of his hotel. “That was an amazing interview. That was an amazing -- we don’t play games, newt, right? We don’t play games.”