Megyn Kelly is right about Trump choosing Hannity over 'unsafe spaces'

Story highlights

  • Dean Obeidallah says one Fox News anchor is right to criticize Donald Trump for sticking mostly to Hannity show
  • He says Trump is lessening his chance of winning by limiting his appearances to a show with a conservative base

Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM's radio's daily program "The Dean Obeidallah Show" and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @TheDeansreport. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)Megyn Kelly has apparently had enough of Donald Trump ducking tough questions. On her Fox News' show Wednesday she called out Trump in no uncertain terms while also taking a subtle shot at her colleague Sean Hannity: "Donald Trump, with all due respect to my friend at 10, will go on Hannity and pretty much only Hannity and will not venture out to the unsafe spaces these days, which doesn't exactly expand the tent."

Hannity responded by channeling his inner Trump and lashing out at Kelly on Twitter: "@megynkelly u should be mad at @HillaryClinton Clearly you support her." It's truly jaw dropping that Hannity would publicly call Kelly a Clinton supporter since that is akin to accusing a person of treason in the eyes of Fox News viewers.
    Putting aside my personal enjoyment at watching Fox News anchors fight over and with Trump, Kelly is 100% correct. Trump is trailing Clinton in the RCP average of polls by more than 3 points, the biggest gap in over a month. And polls released in the last few days show Trump not only trailing in most battleground states -- including Ohio, where Trump had recently been leading -- but shockingly a new poll published Thursday also shows him trailing Clinton by 2 points in the traditionally red state of Arizona.
    How can Trump expect to close this electoral gap if he doesn't venture out beyond the conservative base that watches Hannity's show?! It's truly irony defined that Trump, in many ways a creation of the media, has now morphed into the political version of Greta Garbo when it comes to answering questions from members of the media other than Hannity.
    During the primary campaign, Trump seemed to be on every network and held countless press conferences. Consequently, he received literally billions of dollars in free media coverage that clearly helped Trump lock up the GOP nomination.
    But those days are long gone. Trump has not held a press conference in almost three months. In contrast, as CNN's Brian Stelter reported last week, Clinton has recently held several press conferences and "is now taking questions from campaign trail reporters on a regular basis."
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    And Clinton has been able to put damaging issues like her email server behind her (for most Americans at least) because she has publicly answered questions about it. In fact, Matt Lauer grilled Clinton about this just last month in the nationally televised Commander-In-Chief Forum. In contrast, Trump's avoidance of answering questions on recent hot button issues such as whether he had personally paid even a dime in federal income taxes since 1995 keeps these issues in the press. (Surrogates responding to controversial issues are simply not enough to put the issue to rest -- case in point Trump's birtherism, which required Trump to respond directly.)
    Perhaps if Trump had not avoided press conferences since July and subjected himself to more challenging interviews he would've been better prepared for his debate last week. But the bulk of the TV interviews were conducted by his self-professed supporter Hannity, perhaps causing Trump to be lulled into the sense he was fully informed on issues and didn't need intensive debate prep.
    But the irony doesn't end there. The words chosen by Kelly to call out Trump -- which it's fair to assume are by design -- are comically ironic. Kelly stated that Trump refuses to venture out to "unsafe spaces." What makes this remark so amusing is that "safe spaces' is the term often invoked by progressive college students when objecting to "offensive" speakers or words on their campus. It's the very type of concept that the unapologetically "politically incorrect" Trump would rail against. It appears Kelly is trolling Trump with this comment, perhaps hoping to "trigger" him to lash out. (So far only Hannity has been triggered!)
    But will Trump change? Doubtful. Trump has -- at least in his own mind -- been a yuuuuge success by following his own playbook. (Of course, when Trump was doing as badly in business as he is doing currently in this campaign, he could just file for bankruptcy -- as he did six times before.) That is not an option in the world of politics.
    But by limiting himself only to the Hannity audience, Trump may effectively be ruling himself out of a victory and courting political bankruptcy. His other option is to give himself a shot at winning by holding press conferences and appearing on various networks to field questions. Knowing Trump, he might agree to finally holding a "press conference" but with the proviso that only Hannity could ask questions.