Fox News chief Roger Ailes

Fox News chief Roger Ailes

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has allegedly turned to Ivanka and Melania Trump for help salvaging Thursday’s presidential debate.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump dropped out of tomorrow’s debate in Des Moines, Iowa, after the network put out a snarky press release early Tuesday.

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“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president,” the press release said. “A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

Trump, who has led his Republican rivals since August, said Ailes was “playing games” that he would not tolerate. The turmoil between he and Fox is the latest in a long-running feud over the objectivity of host and debate moderator Megyn Kelly.

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Joe Scarborough announced on “Morning Joe” Wednesday that while Fox was publicly standing behind its talent, Ailes called Ivanka and Melania Trump behind the scenes to settle the dispute, the Daily Mail reported.

Donald Trump allegedly would only discuss the matter if media mogul Rupert Murdoch made the call.

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Trump’s decision may have caused a domino effect with his rivals. The billionaire plans to host an event for wounded veterans in lieu of the debate, and his opponents appear interested in taking part.

Megyn Kelly

Megyn Kelly

“I had a number of calls yesterday with some of the other campaigns who said, hey, can we come and join you in raising money for the wounded warriors, for veterans because, you know, if Fox isn’t going to be fair to you, what makes you think they’re going to be fair to us,” Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, Breitbart News reported.

Lewandowski added that Fox wants to “have 24 million people tune in to watch Donald Trump so that their anchors can have the story about them.”

Kelly maintains she has always been “fair and balanced,” going back to the network’s Aug. 6 debate where she asked Trump about his interpersonal skills with women.

“I maintain it was a tough but fair question,” Kelly reiterated Tuesday night.

Fox’s Greta Van Susteren polled her “Gretawire” viewers on Tuesday to see who would tune into the upcoming debate without Trump. The results, although unscientific, were overwhelming: 85.9 percent (14,209) of respondents said they would not watch the debate compared to 14.1 percent (2,333) who would.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Related stories:

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O’Reilly begs Trump to reconsider, show up at debate

Limbaugh scorches Fox News in debate dispute with Trump

‘You’re fired!’ Trump dumps GOP debate on Fox

Fox chose Muslim Bernie Sanders supporter to trip Trump

Trump slammed as ‘bully’ by Glenn Beck

Fox News accuses Trump campaign of ‘terrorizations’

Trump goes to war with ‘bimbo’ Fox News star

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