NBC host Megyn Kelly explained to Ellen DeGeneres on Wednesday why she left Fox News for a slot in the "Today" show lineup, saying that President Donald Trump "clarified" her desire to leave prime-time cable news.
Appearing on "Ellen," Kelly said she wondered during the 2016 presidential campaign whether she should continue anchoring a politically focused prime-time show. In her last year hosting "The Kelly File" on Fox News, Trump's actions as a candidate showed her that she did not want to stay.
"Donald Trump has a way of clarifying one's life choices," Kelly said. "That was true in my case, too. Just as I was sort of wondering whether this was where I wanted to be and how I wanted to live, the universe came and sort of shone a light and it was clear to me what I wanted to do."
Kelly said she pursued journalism to report the news, not because of a love for politics, but she found that prime time focuses almost entirely on political matters.
"It wasn't until I got my job in prime time that the coverage became all political," Kelly said. "And I was never a political person, I wasn't raised in a political household, and it became clear to me that it wasn't what I wanted to do. That's not who I am."
Kelly then explained how Trump played a role in her ultimate decision to leave Fox News. DeGeneres asked Kelly about Trump's tweets calling for a boycott of Kelly's show, and Kelly expanded on her feud with Trump during the 2016 campaign.
"It wasn't just the tweets," Kelly said. "The country's so divided now, and it's so political. It's like politics has become like race; you can't discuss it at all."
Kelly also brought up former Fox News star Bill O'Reilly, who imparted a lesson to her when she started in prime time that she recalled.
"Bill O'Reilly, of all people, told me when I got to cable news prime time that cable news prime time is a snake pit," Kelly said. "That's how it felt. And I didn't want to be in the snake pit. I just wanted to cover the news, but it has a way of pulling you in over and over and over, and then that becomes your life and that's not the life I wanted."
She also said Trump's call for a boycott did not impact her ratings.
"My ratings only went up in my year of Trump," Kelly said, to a burst of applause. "He was very focused. It was just a clarification and an affirmation that I did not want to live like this."