It was Rush Limbaugh who brought the shocking news from DC Whispers to everyone’s attention: that Donald Trump was meant to be “taken out” in last Thursday’s GOP debate.

“Though the Fox News promos state it is a debate of Republican candidates,” reported DC Whispers, “most of the network’s on-air personalities have admitted publicly it has turned into the Donald Trump show as the top GOP contender has become the single most referenced topic on the minds of everyone following the 2016 Race for the White House. … That reality is not sitting well with GOP power brokers who are said to have made it clear to operatives linked to a variety of candidate camps that Donald Trump cannot be allowed to appear to win tomorrow night’s debate. Some are said to have taken an even more aggressive stance by indicating Trump’s Republican rivals are to ‘take him out’ tomorrow night.”

Many people agreed the instructions from “operatives linked to a variety of candidate camps” to “take him out” had an eerie ring to it.

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Megyn Kelly’s immediate attack on Trump came as no surprise to those anticipating this tactic. What did surprise many – including, apparently, Trump himself – was the trivial nature of the attacks. Some questioned whether this was all the ammunition they had.

Rather than introduce serious policy issues such as immigration, terrorism or the economy, Kelly’s first question for Trump attempted to brand him as a misogynist. “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals,'” she began.

Trump interrupted with, “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” which brought laughter and cheers from the audience.

Kelly continued: “For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who was likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?”

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Presented with this apparent non-sequitur during the debate, Trump was clearly baffled by Kelly’s reference and couldn’t recall where it came from. Neither, it seemed, could anyone else – until finally the source came to light: an old episode from Season 6 of The Apprentice.

“She’s reading this,” noted Mark Levin on his radio program, “so this was done with forethought. Every syllable was planned in advance. So the researchers did the research. This was approved – had to be – by management. … That’s the specific example she gives, asking about his temperament.”

Levin angrily pointed out the absurdity of the reference. “You want to know the facts about that? … They found the words. They were perfectly innocent. Donald Trump on Season 6 of ‘The Apprentice’ – and by the way, that means that our good friends at Fox went through ‘The Apprentice,’ the various shows of ‘The Apprentice’ – went back and looked at his Twitter and his Facebook … trying to dig stuff up … this is what they did. They turned it into the National Enquirer. … That is the specific example that is used against him. After all the background search that must have been done, this is Season 6 of ‘The Apprentice.’ They were looking. Looking. This is question No. 2 in a presidential debate?”

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Levin said he was “stunned” this kind of question was raised on a debate stage with people vying to be president of the United States.

“We’re facing enemies all around us … the economy … wouldn’t it have been nice if this was discussed? … Instead we have to hear about stuff that’s cherry-picked out of Season 6 of ‘The Apprentice?'”

Levin played an interview with Brande Roderick, the contestant on that episode, who not only didn’t remember the line, but praised Trump for his encouragement and specified he had never been disrespectful to her.

Trump has been a public figure for decades, making and breaking deals, becoming a self-made billionaire – and yet the worst dirt Fox News apparently could dig up was one line from a 2007 episode that was wrenched out of context. The Right Scoop noted how blatantly the “dropped to her knees” reference was taken out of context, noting: “But that’s not what happened at all.”

Apparently not many people were fooled. “For all of you who think Trump was not justified to be angry, well here’s your proof that Kelly along with the entire Fox News network had to dig up unfactual information and out of context quotes,” noted one irate reader. “And all this was well before the debates took place to try and shake him off the political stage. This was a political hit from the top of the RINO food chain. Notice how none of the other candidates said a peep about Trump? The head of the RNC set this in motion to derail Trump.”

The move apparently flopped. According to the latest NBC News Online Poll conducted by SurveyMonkey, “Trump is at the top of the list of GOP candidates that Republican primary voters would cast a ballot for if the primary were being held right now.”

“Fox’s attempts to discredit Trump on a national debate stage fell flat and made them look foolish, petty and unprofessional,” said one reader about Fox News.

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