After a year of turmoil, two once-estranged friends seemed to mend their relationship on Tuesday: Fox News and former President Donald Trump.

During a town hall in Greenville, South Carolina, Trump and Fox News host Laura Ingraham were cordial, even chummy, while discussing issues ranging from Trump’s criminal indictments to the death of Russian politician Alexei Navalny. It marked a sharp deviation from Trump’s hostile posture toward the leading conservative TV network, which began after he left office in 2021.

A largely pro-Trump audience filled the Greenville Convention Center. Ingraham asked Trump about the political topics of the day, and Trump’s responses were often punctuated or interrupted by loud cheers. During breaks, Trump was relaxed, interacting with the crowd and joking with Ingraham.

It was a clear diversion from the fraught relationship between Fox and Trump on display even in recent months. In early 2023, the cable network agreed to pay nearly $800 million in damages to a voting machine company after parroting Trump’s false claims of a stolen 2020 election. Trump, incensed by the network’s apparent disloyalty, refused to appear on its shows for a time.

When Fox News hosted the first Republican presidential debate in August, Trump declined to participate, instead hosting counter-programming with ex-Fox host Tucker Carlson, who the network dismissed in the wake of its defamation trial.

But on Tuesday, it seemed all of that was firmly in the past. When Trump claimed Biden “cheats in elections” and said the 2020 election was fraudulent, Ingraham didn’t correct him. “Hopefully Fox leaves that in, maybe not,” Trump said.

At times, it seemed that Ingraham was spoon-feeding Trump his own partisan answers. Instead of asking Trump if he would condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of Navalny’s death, Ingraham asked Trump how the death made him “more aware of the circumstances here” — meaning, Trump’s own legal prosecutions. When Trump didn’t take the bait, calling Navalny a “very brave guy,” Ingraham pushed further. “Do you see yourselves as a potential political prisoner?” she asked.

Trump nodded, saying that the latest court-imposed penalty against him — $355 million in a civil fraud case — was “a form of Navalny.” He retrieved a copy of the Eighth Amendment from his suit pocket and read about “excessive bail” and “cruel and unusual punishment.”

“This is all coming out of the White House,” he claimed. “This is all election interference so they can win another election.”

Trump slams Haley, praises Scott as potential V.P. pick

Earlier in the day, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said she does not plan to drop out of the race for the Republican nomination. She also said she is not interested in serving as Trump’s vice president, saying she feels ”no need to kiss the ring.”

When asked if he would consider Haley as a running mate, Trump said he would not. “She’s losing bigly,” Trump said. “You shouldn’t lose your home state.”

Trump implied that her decision to keep campaigning is part of a larger plot, orchestrated by Democrats, to keep Trump from winning in November.

Sen. Tim Scott, who was in attendance, earned a standing ovation when he entered the room. Later, when Ingraham asked Trump what qualities he looks for in potential running mates, Trump said he’d want “someone who could make a good president” — he paused and pointed to Scott in the front row — “like that gentleman over there.” The crowd erupted in applause again.

Ingraham listed several other names, including Kristi Noem, Vivek Ramaswamy, Ron DeSantis and Byron Donalds. Trump nodded along as she said each one, but he did not elaborate.

Toward the end of the town hall, a female voter asked Trump if he would focus a second term on “improving the country” or “settling old scores.” Trump gave a long answer about the economic success of his first term, noting that “we did it before.”

Ingraham cut him off, noting that many voters — including female voters — feel repulsed by his “name-calling” and “score-settling,” though they may like his policies.

“I don’t care about the revenge thing,” he said. “My revenge will be success.”