President Donald Trump is becoming more and more vocal in his displeasure with Fox News.
Taking questions from reporters in New Jersey before returning to Washington, D.C. on Sunday, Trump was asked about a recent Fox News poll showing that his approval rating has dropped from 46 percent in July to 43 percent now.
“Fox is a lot different than it used to be. I can tell you that,” he said. “Juan Williams — then they have the wonderful woman that gave Hillary Clinton the questions. That was a terrible thing. And all of a sudden, she’s working for Fox. What’s she doing working for Fox?”
The latter reference was to Donna Brazile, a former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who went to work at Fox News after resigning from rival CNN over the debate question fiasco.
“Fox has changed, and my worst polls have always been from Fox,” Trump continued. “There’s something going on at Fox, I’ll tell you right now. And I’m not happy with it.”
The president went on to then slam Williams and call him out for his hypocrisy.
“I don’t know what’s happening at Fox, but when they have like a Juan Williams, who’s never said a positive thing and yet, when I show up at the Fox building he’s out there, ‘Oh sir, can I have a picture of you’ … and he was 100 percent nice,” the president said.
Trump felt so strongly about Williams, who had just appeared on “Fox News Sunday” to bash him for his “brutish” approach to China on trade, that he even tweeted the remark about the photo request.
“Juan Williams at @FoxNews is so pathetic, and yet when he met me in the Fox Building lobby, he couldn’t have been nicer as he asked me to take a picture of him and me for his family. Yet he is always nasty and wrong!” Trump tweeted.
Staying on the subject — after all, bashing Fox News is a favorite liberal pastime — a reporter asked Trump about the management change at the network.
Trump responded by mentioning that Fox News was excluded from the Democratic primary debates, an occurrence that appears to have had a significant impact at the network, before dropping a subtle hint that his campaign will have a say in who gets the “really big debates,” which will feature the president going against the eventual Democrat Party nominee.
“I think they’re making a big mistake because Fox was treated very badly by the Democrats. Very, very badly. Having to do with the debates and other things,” Trump said. “And I think Fox is making a big mistake because, you know, I’m the one that calls the shots on that — on the really big debates. I guess we’re probably planning on three of them. And I — well, I’m very — I’m not happy with Fox.”
He went on to name a number of Fox News hosts he was pleased with, starting with Sean Hannity. Other names thrown out included Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Jesse Watters, and Jeanine Pirro.
“Even Greg Gutfeld,” Trump said. “He wasn’t good to me two years ago. Now he sees all I’ve done. He says ‘would you rather have a great president or a nice guy?’ I think I’m a nice guy, but nobody’s done in 2 and a half years what I’ve done.”
This is not the first time Trump has taken a shot at Fox News over a bad poll, as seen in a tweet in June that was posted after a poll from the network showed him losing to several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
The president slammed Fox News host Bret Baier in the tweet.
“@FoxNews Polls are always bad for me. They were against Crooked Hillary also. Something weird going on at Fox. Our polls show us leading in all 17 Swing States. For the record, I didn’t spend 30 hours with @abcnews, but rather a tiny fraction of that. More Fake News @BretBaier,” the president tweeted.
CNN anchor Ana Cabrera took umbrage over Trump saying “we have a lot of great people” at Fox News, twisting the comment by implying that by saying “we,” Trump was referring to his campaign and the network.
She then set up analyst David Gergen with a softball pitch.
“David, you’ve worked in Democratic and Republican administrations. They all felt at one point or maybe several times that, you know, the press was out to get them, but did you ever think you’d hear a president refer to a major news organization as ‘we?’” Cabrera asked.
“I think this is alarming how far over he’s going,” Gergen responded. “I mean, to say that he may actually vote against Fox or cast a vote against Fox being involved in the upcoming presidential debates of 2020 because their coverage is not to his liking, that’s revolting.”
In effect, he’s criticizing the president for emulating the Democrat Party’s behavior.
“It’s very manipulative and it’s what strongmen do,” Gergen added. “They try to take over the voices of dissent. They try to take over the media or tie the media and their countries to suppress their voice. And that’s what’s wrong with this.”
He went on to say that “this is a big thing when you start toying with the media and acting as if you own Fox.”
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