Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager for Donald Trump, insisted Wednesday that Trump's decision to skip Thursday's Fox News debate has "nothing" to do with Megyn Kelly, and said it's Fox News as a whole that drove him out the debate.
"This has nothing to do with Megyn Kelly," Lewandowski told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "What this is about is Fox News, which is making tens of millions of dollars on the debates, setting records, you know, the highest in history we've ever seen in cable television, unlike previous years, and unlike the very stupid and highly incompetent people that run our country, Mr. Trump knows when to walk away from a bad deal."
Lewandowski made the comment after host Willie Geist asked him why Trump just wouldn't take questions from Kelly, who he's gone after non-stop in recent days ahead of the debate.
"It's Roger Ailes, it's Fox News. They think they can toy with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump doesn't play games, you guys know that," Lewandowski replied. "He's been to six debates, he's stood on the stage with Megyn Kelly, he's answered every question from every debate moderator who's posed a question towards him. This isn't about Megyn Kelly at all. This is about giving the American people the opportunity to ask questions, to hear from the candidates directly in a direct manner."
Trump bristled on Tuesday when Fox issued a sarcastic release to the press making fun of Trump's complaint that Kelly would moderate the debate, and Trump said that was the last straw.
Lewandowski added that there are "repercussions" in situations like this, and noted that even the Republican National Committee snatched a debate away from NBC after CNBC's widely-panned debate in October.
"There are quality individuals who want to ask tough questions in a fair and reasonable manner," Lewandowski said. "Mr. Trump can answer any question. He's running for president of the United States, and he's done it time and time again. What they're doing with Megyn Kelly and moreover Roger Ailes with the statement they put out goading Mr. Trump, it's clearly that Fox thought it was appropriate to mock Mr. Trump. But at the end of the day, Mr. Trump is going to have the last laugh."
Additionally, Lewandowski did not dispute Fox News' claim in their press release Tuesday night that he warned against more attacks if she did not treat him fairly in Thursday's debate, saying though that he wished those talks remained private.
"I can say there were some issues raised earlier about my conversations with some of the Fox executives. I think what they want to be is they want to be very dishonest, unfortunately," Lewandowski said. "When you have a conversation with some of the Fox executives, you'd hope that they keep that conversation private."