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Trump's Debate Diss of Rosie Staged After Fox Leaked Question to Him

Rosie

Among the many revelations in a New Yorker report was that Fox executives leaked an infamous debate question to the then-candidate.

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New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer cracked open the unholy alliance between Donald Trump and Fox News, the latter of which now functions as state television.

Buried in the meticulously-reported expose -- which covers how Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and Trump use each other to reap billions and keep viewers fearful of immigration and demographic shifts -- is a tidbit about how Fox executives worked to aid Trump in his debate performances.

During the infamous August 2015 debate among Republican candidates, then-Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly asked Trump about the pejoratives he's used to describe women.

"You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals," Kelly said. Trump then interrupted, saying "Only Rosie O'Donnell." The audience burst into laughter over Trump's insult to the lesbian star and philanthropist.

(RELATED: Trump Believes His Decade of Bullying Rosie O'Donnell Is Justified)

But Mayer says the whole exchange may have been anticipated by Trump. Mayer writes that former Fox News executive Roger Ailes may have tipped off the Trump campaign about Kelly's question.

"A pair of Fox insiders and a source close to Trump believe that Ailes informed the Trump campaign about Kelly's question," Mayer reports. "Two of those sources say that they know of the tipoff from a purported eyewitness."

Kelly has already insinuated Trump knew her question was coming, writing in her 2016 memoir that Trump was steaming mad as the debate approached.

"Then, the day before the first presidential debate, Mr. Trump was in a lather again, Ms. Kelly writes," according to The New York Times. "He called Fox executives, saying he'd heard that her first question 'was a very pointed question directed at him.' This disconcerted her, because it was true: It was about his history of using disparaging language about women."

That wasn't the only question Trump likely knew about in advance.

"In addition, a former Trump campaign aide says that a Fox contact gave him advance notice of a different debate question, which asked the candidates whether they would support the Republican nominee, regardless of who won. The former aide says that the heads-up was passed on to Trump, who was the only candidate who said that he wouldn't automatically support the Party's nominee--a position that burnished his image as an outsider."

Of course, when stolen emails from Wikileaks showed that former DNC chair Donna Brazile leaked questions to Hillary Clinton's campaign, Trump pounced. "Can you imagine, by the way, if you gave me the questions to a debate? They would have you out of business," Trump said at the time.

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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.