Fox & Friends Shamelessly Attempts to Cast Trump as a Crusader Against Russian Meddling
President Donald Trump gave a shoutout to Fox & Friends on Twitter Tuesday morning, praising his favorite morning show for exposing his predecessor, President Barack Obama, as a failure in his attempts to stand up to Russia.
Those tweets were prompted by a morning in which Fox & Friends repeatedly slammed – in at least three segments — Obama’s supposedly feckless inaction in response to Russian efforts to interference in the 2016 election.
The hosts of Fox & Friends honed in on remarks Obama made in October 2016, in which the former president criticized then-candidate Trump for his complaints that the upcoming election was “rigged” against him.
“I have never seen in my lifetime, or in modern political history, any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place,” Obama said at a press conference. “There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections, there’s no evidence that that has happened in the past or that it will happen this time, and so I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and go make his case to get votes.”
Fox & Friends seized on those remarks with the sort of glee usually reserved for a segment decrying kneeling NFL players — pointing out that Obama knew at the time that Russia was trying to interfere in the U.S. election.
“The president knew, right then when he was saying that, that it was going on,” Steve Doocy said, referring to Russian meddling. Doocy then reiterated Obama’s remarks that no serious person would make the claims Trump did, and that there’s no evidence to back up those claims.
What this bizarre Fox & Friends segment would lead us to believe is that Trump claimed in 2016 that the election was being rigged by Russia, and that Obama dismissed his claims as silly — despite having full knowledge of Russia’s attempts to interfere in the election.
But that’s not what Trump said, and not what Obama was criticizing him for. Apparently the Fox & Friends hosts are too obtuse to recall 2016, but Trump’s allegations that the election was going to be rigged against him did not point any fingers at Russia.
In fact, he blamed almost everyone else: he claimed that “Crooked Hillary” was rigging the election, along with the DNC, the “dishonest media,” “phony polls” intended to depress his voters, and, most frequently, African-Americans committing voter fraud. Never Russia.
Despite Fox & Friends falsely setting up Obama’s remarks as referring to Russia, the president’s comments in his October 2016 presser were aimed at Trump’s latest claims that the election was being rigged against him by the U.S. political system. Those claims by then-candidate Trump were widely condemned at the time, even by members of Trump’s own party, including Paul Ryan.
The shockingly deceitful conflation of Trump’s claims that African-Americans were committing widespread voter fraud, with the very real crisis of Russian election interference is nauseating, even by Fox & Friends standards.
I assume some Fox News producer dug up that Obama soundbite and was too lazy to read about the president’s remarks in full context. And then the Fox & Friends hosts were too careless and blinded by their shameless pursuit of Trump Twitter attaboys to question the item.
“This is another example about how president Trump was right,” Ainsley Earhardt declared of Trump’s “rigged” claims. “I mean he predicted this when he was running, and people laughed at him, no one expected him to win.”
“It just reminded me of just how in touch he is with the American people, and how the American people feel.”
Setting aside her unbearably asinine comment about this all proving how in touch Trump his with the American people, it’s hard to put into words how insane it is to see Earhardt declare — as millions watch her on national television — that Trump was the one warning us all along about Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.
But Earhardt’s remark is indicative of a new phase in Trump apologists’ defenses against allegations of Russian collusion. They inexplicably took Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians for meddling as exculpatory of Trump, as it held that his campaign did not cooperate with that very specific effort. Now that Trump has been vindicated, in their eyes, we can actually begin to look at Russian meddling as a serious issue, and one which Obama failed to thwart.
Brian Kilmeade followed Earhardt by warning of the dangers of Russian interference in U.S. elections. It would have been stunning to hear him address this topic at all as recently as last week, when the show’s duty was to dismiss any hint that Trump may have aided Russia in meddling with the 2016 election. But ever since Trump’s grand vindication, Kilmeade, Doocy and Earhardt have rediscovered their patriotic, Anti-Soviet fervor.
In this new world, Trump was actually right about the election being rigged against him, and he’s the sole crusader truly standing up to Russia and holding Obama’s administration accountable for not doing enough to stop Putin’s scheming.
It’s a nonsensical alternate reality. But that won’t stop Trump from patting Fox & Friends on the head for creating it, as the trio of hosts eagerly smile back at him through his massive West Wing television screen.
[image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.