By Charlotte Alter
Updated: August 25, 2015 5:03 PM ET

Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes slammed Donald Trump’s “unprovoked attack” on Megyn Kelly as “disturbing” and “unacceptable” on Tuesday, demanding the Republican presidential candidate apologize for comments about the popular TV host he has been criticizing ever since the first GOP debate this month.

“I could not be more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults,” Ailes said in a statement. “Her questioning of Mr. Trump at the debate was tough but fair, and I fully support her as she continues to ask the probing and challenging questions that all presidential candidates may find difficult to answer.”

Trump sparred with Kelly after her tough questioning during the Aug. 6 debate. That led to days of attacks from Trump, taunts he continued when she returned to her primetime show The Kelly File after a vacation this week.

In a statement responding to Ailes, Trump said he “totally” disagrees. “I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist,” he said in the statement reported by Politico.”I think her questioning of me, despite all of the polls saying I won the debate, was very unfair.”

See Ailes’ full statement below:

“Donald Trump’s surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing. Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism and all of us at FOX News Channel reject the crude and irresponsible attempts to suggest otherwise. I could not be more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults. Her questioning of Mr. Trump at the debate was tough but fair, and I fully support her as she continues to ask the probing and challenging questions that all presidential candidates may find difficult to answer. Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case, he should. We have never been deterred by politicians or anyone else attacking us for doing our job, much less allowed ourselves to be bullied by anyone and we’re certainly not going to start now. All of our journalists will continue to report in the fair and balanced way that has made FOX News Channel the number one news network in the industry.”

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