Settle for More
Let’s get it out of the way at the very beginning: The Roger Ailes stories in lawyer–turned–Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s book are every bit as lurid and appalling as you might imagine, with the former network CEO speculating lewdly about her “sexy bras” and even, at one point, chasing her around his office. But months after his ouster from the network, it’s not Ailes we really want to read about, it’s President-elect Donald Trump, with whom Kelly has famously feuded.
By her own reckoning, Trump’s displeasure with her dates back to an episode of The Kelly File, in which she discussed Donald’s first divorce. Up until then, their relationship had been quite good. In fact, six months before he announced his candidacy, he began to call, send notes, and dangle gifts (all of which she declined). “This is actually one of the untold stories of the 2016 campaign,” Kelly writes, adding, “I was not the only journalist to whom Trump offered gifts clearly meant to shape coverage.”
When Trump began to denigrate her in interviews and on Twitter, at first—ever the lawyer—she hung tough, leaning on the First Amendment. “I believe in the right to offend. To insult. Even to horrify. It’s not that we’re supposed to enjoy it, it’s that we’re supposed to allow it and then respond in a more persuasive voice,” she writes. It was not easy. Though the president-elect never called for violence against her, some of his followers interpreted his tweets that way, and they showered her with violent threats. A Fox executive told Trump’s attorney bluntly, “If Megyn Kelly is killed, it’s not going to help your candidate.” Things got so bad that Kelly, her husband, and their three children had to take armed security with them on a Disney vacation. “It was jarring to see Trump’s anger manifest so personally in my own life,” she admits.
But Kelly is most certainly not defined by any man, and her book is about much more than just her dealings with Trump and Ailes. The story of her years as an attorney and her subsequent rise in TV journalism is surprisingly moving, transforming Settle for More into a Lean In-ish primer for young women about the importance of hard work, self-esteem, and—most of all—perseverance. Because say what you like about Kelly, she’s got grit, and lots of it.