Newsmax Host Eric Bolling on Network Success, Trump’s Arrest, Fox News, Biden and More

Eric Bolling

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Last week, when former President Donald Trump left the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta, his mugshot photo was made public, rocketing across the media and becoming instantly infamous.

In the moments after his arrest, Newsmax aired the first interview with Trump over the phone. “It was a terrible experience,” he told host Greg Kelly; a result of  the “weaponized Justice Department.”

The 8 p.m. show on Newsmax, The Balance with host Eric Bolling, saw its highest ratings ever that night as he covered the historic surrender live.

Mediaite spoke with Bolling for this week’s episode of The Interview podcast about Trump’s arrest, the growth of Newsmax, and the 2024 race.

Bolling’s jump to Newsmax came as the network saw a rise in relevance. Previously considered a fringe rival to ratings titan Fox News, Newsmax has grown its audience to new highs in recent years in part thanks to Trump supporters quitting Fox following the 2020 election and the firing of Tucker Carlson. The Balance has seen a particularly steep ascent: in the third quarter, the show was up 103% from the previous year. Still, Fox remains far ahead of its rival, as the most-watched network in all of cable news.

Bolling spoke about those viewer boycotts, the success of his own show and why Newsmax has seen its audience grow — as well as the dangerous stolen election defamation lawsuits facing his network.

Bolling also spoke about Trump’s mugshot and his looming trials, noting that while Trump seemed to take his arrest in stride, some of Trump’s co-defendants, like Rudy Giuliani, were visibly “shaken.”

Read excerpts from their conversation below. This episode was produced by Payton Selby and Brad Maybe.

On Fox, Newsmax and the conservative base

I’m a libertarian, but I’m also a conservative, and I really hate the establishment Republicans. I just hate that whole group. I don’t like the Ryans. I don’t like the Romneys. I see Karl Rove on Fox ad nauseam every day. And I think there’s a conservative audience that doesn’t want that anymore. And they realize that Fox is going to do that. That’s what they’re going to do. They’re going to keep the establishment, cater to the establishment audience, and they’re also going to go after a little bit more liberal audience, a little bit more centrist audience.

That core hardcore conservative, that’s where I land; that’s the void I fill. And I think they came over to check out The Balance and, you know, knock on wood, they’ve stayed, and I hope to keep them going forward.

And by the way, we’re going into a massive election season with Trump blowing away the field right now. Fox made their bed with DeSantis early; now they’re trying to figure out who they’re going to support. I will tell you something. Like me or not, whoever’s listening, Fox will jump on the bandwagon with whoever is leading. Initially, they thought DeSantis was going to be the one. It doesn’t look like he’s going to be the one. They’re still trying to do everything in their power not to jump on the Trump bandwagon until they have no choice, and then they will be all on board, hypocritically, on the Trump train going forward.

So I think people are seeing through it. I’m not saying that they won’t regain an audience, but I don’t think it’s going to be the real hardcore conservative audience that I’ve kind of always catered to.

On how Trump handled his arrest in Georgia

I’ve never seen someone so immune to what you just pointed out. You’re being mugshot, you’re being fingerprinted, you’re in court. I saw Rudy Giuliani come out of that courthouse, and it was a different Rudy. You can see he was shaking, really, literally on that night. I’m like, “Tell me, Mr. Mayor, were you sad? Were you scared? Were you concerned? What were your emotions?” Because that was a Rudy I had never seen. He said, “You’re right. It was a sad day in America.”

I saw Trump come out of the same courthouse a few hours later, and it’s like another day. A suit. Perfect. You know, he just comes out. He’s got that look. He’s like, whatever, you know, get on the plane, go back. He doesn’t need to campaign in the traditional way. And he does so very well, as we know. He’ll do a rally in between. He’ll use it to drum up support for the way he’s being persecuted. And that’s the play he’ll make. And he’s literally running on “I’m being persecuted. And by the way, if they can do it to Trump, they can do it to you.” And it’s working for him. So I think whatever they’re doing there, they’re playing into his hands.

On Biden’s odds for re-election

Biden won’t make it. He won’t make it to the election. I’ve been saying this straight through. His facilities have deteriorated. They are not going to be able to prop him up. I think that’s why you’re seeing all of a sudden Bernie Sanders going to New Hampshire. Gavin Newsom is debating DeSantis on Hannity coming up. And they don’t do it vocally or proudly or loudly, but they are probably trying to be the one assuming Biden doesn’t. I don’t think he’s going to.

The man is coughing into his hands, shaking hands with little kids. He doesn’t know where he is at the time. I’m not being mean. I’m being a realist. I’m being honest. I mean, this is the guy you want with the nuclear codes? He doesn’t know where he is. He’s calling out dead people. These are common phrases on cable TV, but come on. Look at him. Look at him. Walk. Look at them lay out. They can barely get him out of a lounge chair on the beach. (…) Biden is scary. I think he can make some really bad decisions. He’s not mentally there. He’s not fit for office.

So I think he’ll get moved out, “wanting to spend more time with his family.” Doctor Jill will say it. And then I honestly think I think the biggest threat to a Republican win would be Michelle Obama. I think she beats everybody.


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