Megyn Kelly: Ratings 'went up' after Donald Trump boycott

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Donald Trump V. Megyn Kelly

Donald Trump likes to take credit for boosting Megyn Kelly's ratings, but the Fox News anchor tells Variety in a new interview that he only does that because his boycott on "The Kelly File" backfired.

"'The Kelly File' was the No. 1 show in the time slot and No. 2 in all of cable from the time I launched it," said Kelly, who draws 2.5 million nightly viewers in primetime. "Trump called for people to boycott the show repeatedly. The numbers went up. When he realized the boycott had failed, he decided to take credit for the show's success."

Kelly said that she laughed when she saw Trump claim on Twitter that he deserves a portion of her salary. "I'll say this," Kelly said in an interview as part of this week's Variety Power of Women issue. "I earn every dime of my salary. I won't be giving it to anyone other than my three children."

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Megyn Kelly: Ratings 'went up' after Donald Trump boycott
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump responds to supporters during his rally at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Security removes protesters after one of many interruptions during Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Protesters interrupt Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during his remarks at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: A protester yells as he is escorted out of a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the CFE Arena during a campaign stop on the campus of the University of Central Florida on March 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: People listen as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the CFE Arena during a campaign stop on the campus of the University of Central Florida on March 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the CFE Arena during a campaign stop on the campus of the University of Central Florida on March 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signs the arm of a young lady at the CFE Arena during a campaign stop on the campus of the University of Central Florida on March 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A group of young Muslims stage a small protest as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes the stage for a campaign rally during the Kansas GOP caucus at Century II in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Anti-Trump demonstrator Bill Anderson protests outside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses his supporters at rally during the Kansas GOP caucus at Century II in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Anti-Trump supporters demonstrate outside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY- MARCH 5: Evelyn Stalevicz shows her support for Donald Trump as voters lined up to vote in the GOP presidential caucus at Zachary Taylor Elementary school March 5, 2016, in Louisville, Kentucky. This would be the state of Kentucky's first-ever Republican Presidential Caucus, participating in Presidential Primaries in May alongside other states. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
Donald Trump supporters acknowledge their candidate as he takes the stage inside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
A Donald Trump supporter raises his sign inside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Donald Trump supporters and protesters clash outside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Donald Trump supporters cheer for their man inside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Supporters cheer at the Trump For President rally at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the CFE Arena during a campaign stop on the campus of the University of Central Florida on March 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: A Donald Trump supporter stands in line to vote during the states Republican caucus on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas. People were standing in line for more than two hours to vote in the caucus. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: A man shows his support as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas where the Republican party was staging one of its statewide caucus. Trump spoke of making America great again. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas. The Republican party was holding its state wide caucus in several locations. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: An anti-Trump protester stands outside the convention center where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas. About 100 protesters voiced their opposition to Trump. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: A veteran showed his support as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas where the Republican party was staging one of its statewide caucus. Trump said he would help veterans. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
A protester chanting "Black Lives Matter" is escorted away as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, background, speaks at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
WICHITA, KS - MARCH 5: Supporters displays their signs as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas. The Republican party was holding its state wide caucus in several locations. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a child he pulled from the crowd as he arrives to speak at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A protester and activist holds a sign for the "Islam Against Terrorism" before a campaign rally, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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Kelly, who hasn't spoken to Trump since the last debate she moderated in February, hoped that he'd cease the personal attacks. "If he's determined not to stop, there's nothing I can do," Kelly said. "I don't like being the story. I think it raises real First Amendment issues. I think I've seen with what's happening now with Michelle Fields [the former Breitbart News reporter allegedly grabbed by Trump's campaign manager] and in my own world, there's another side to this behavior. It poses real risks to the person under attack."

Kelly added that she challenges her staff to cover Trump fairly on her show. "I don't avoid the controversies any more than other journalists do," Kelly said. "There are some opinion hosts who want to avoid anything controversial. That's fine, that's what opinion hosts do. I have an obligation to cover these things, but fairly. If there's anything about Trump in the news and I know someone is going to attack him, I always have a Trump defender on."

The star journalist, who is launching her own primetime special on Fox on May 23, noted she's still interested in an interview with the Republican frontrunner. "I don't know whether that ship has sailed or not," Kelly said. "I'd like to talk to him. I think he'd be a great interview. I think he'd be fascinating. I think the American people would love to see it."

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Megyn Kelly through the years
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Megyn Kelly: Ratings 'went up' after Donald Trump boycott
Fox News host Megyn Kelly greets the crowd before interviewing Republican presidential candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at Calvary Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. (Travis Long/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Megyn Kelly -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24: Megyn Kelly (C), Darth Vader and Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion attend New York Philharmonic's Spring Gala, A John Williams Celebration at David Geffen Hall on May 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for New York Philharmonic)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 07: Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly attends the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 07, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Joey Foley/FilmMagic)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0470 -- Pictured: Journalist Megyn Kelly during an interview on May 12, 2016 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Megyn Kelly attends the 'Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: Douglas Brunt and Megyn Kelly attend the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on April 30, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
MEGYN KELLY presents: Megyn Kelly (R) and Donald Trump (L) during the FOX special 'MEGYN KELLY presents' airing Tuesday, May 17 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by Eric Liebowitz/FOX via Getty Images)
MEGYN KELLY presents: Megyn Kelly (R) interviews Michael Douglas (L) during the FOX Special MEGYN KELLY presents airing Tuesday, May 17 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by Eric Liebowitz/FOX via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: Journalist Megyn Kelly attends Variety's Power Of Women: New York 2016 at Cipriani Midtown on April 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Megyn Kelly attends the 7th Annual Women in the World Summit Opening Night at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on April 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic)
Fox News host Megyn Kelly interviews Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in Hialeah, Fla., Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly waits to begin the Republican presidential candidate debate at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Candidates from both parties are crisscrossing Iowa, an agricultural state of about 3 million people in the U.S. heartland that will hold the first votes of the 2016 election on Feb. 1. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 28: Moderators Chris Wallace (L) pats on the shoulder of Megyn Kelly (2nd L) as they wait with Bret Baier (R) for the beginning of the Fox News - Google GOP Debate January 28, 2016 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Residents of Iowa will vote for the Republican nominee at the caucuses on February 1. Donald Trump, who is leading most polls in the state, decided not to participate in the debate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
In this Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 photo, Fox News moderators Megyn Kelly, right, listens as Chris Wallace, begins introductions during the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena, in Cleveland. Angry over what he considered unfair treatment at the debate, republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told CNN on Friday night that Kelly had "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever." (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Megyn Kelly arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Megyn Kelly appears on ABCs 'Good Morning America,' Friday, February 5, 2016. 'Good Morning America' airs Monday Friday (7-9am, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) MEGYN KELLY
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0411 -- Pictured: (l-r) Journalist Megyn Kelly during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on February 4, 2016 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Megyn Kelly appears on ABCs 'Good Morning America,' Friday, February 5, 2016. 'Good Morning America' airs Monday Friday (7-9am, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) MEGYN KELLY
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: News anchor Megyn Kelly speaks onstage during Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc)
Megyn Kelly attends The 35 Most Powerful People in Media hosted by The Hollywood Reporter at The Four Seasons Restaurant on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/AP Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: TV personality Megyn Kelly attends the 2015 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Co-host Megyn Kelly attends 24th Annual Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame Awards at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29: Megyn Kelly attends the 2014 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 080 -- Pictured: (l-r) Political commentator Megyn Kelly during an interview with host Seth Meyers on July 31, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Sheryl Sandburg, chief operating officer of Facebook, responds to questions during a news interview with Megyn Kelly on the show, The Kelly File, in the FOX television studio Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
CORRECTS SPELLING TO SANDBERG NOT SANDBURG Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, right, smiles after a news interview with Megyn Kelly, left, on the show, The Kelly File, on the FOX News Channel, Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27: Megyn Kelly attends at the benefit concert for Army SPC Bryan Dilberain at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts on April 27, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: Kid Rock with host Megyn Kelly visits FOX's 'America Live' at FOX Studios on June 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
Megyn Kelly, host of Fox News Channel's "The Kelly Files," rehearses for the debut of her new show, in New York, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. Her program is the linchpin to the first overhaul of Fox's prime-time lineup since 2002, or about a century in television time. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Megyn Kelly, host of Fox News Channel's "The Kelly Files," rehearses for the debut of her new show, in New York, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. Her program is the linchpin to the first overhaul of Fox's prime-time lineup since 2002, or about a century in television time. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
FILE - In this March 6, 2012 file photo provided by Fox News, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly poses at the anchor desk at the Fox studios in New York. Fox News says that Megyn Kelly, its popular daytime TV host, will move into the network’s prime-time lineup when she returns from maternity leave. Kelly announced this winter that she is expecting her third child sometime this summer. She’s still on the air. (AP Photo/Fox News, Alex Kroke)
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Fox anchor Megyn Kelly prepares for the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate features the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Megyn Kelly, host of America Live on set at Fox News studios in New York. Fox News Channel celebrated its 15th anniversary on the air on October 7th.
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