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Trump Slams Fox News Over Pete Buttigieg Townhall; Brit Hume Responds

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shakes hands with Fox News anchor and moderator Chris Wallace after the third U.S. presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on October 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mark Ralston-Pool/Getty Images
 

On Sunday, President Trump directed more critical comments toward his favorite cable news network, which he blasted for "moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side" and forgetting "the people who got them there" by hosting a town hall for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

 

The event was hosted by Fox News' Chris Wallace and held in Claremont, New Hampshire. As was the case with Fox's Bernie Sanders town hall, much of the audience responded enthusiastically to the South Bend mayor, at one point giving him a standing ovation, as noted by Mediaite. And, as was the case with the Sanders event, Trump was not happy about Fox offering the Democrat a positive platform on the network. Trump was particularly critical of Wallace.

"Hard to believe that @FoxNews is wasting airtime on Mayor Pete, as Chris Wallace likes to call him," Trump wrote in a pair of tweets Sunday night. "Fox is moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side in covering the Dems. They got dumped from the Democrats boring debates, and they just want in. They forgot the people who got them there. Chris Wallace said, 'I actually think, whether you like his opinions or not, that Mayor Pete has a lot of substance...fascinating biography.' Gee, he never speaks well of me — I like [his father] Mike Wallace better...and Alfred E. Newman will never be President!"

Trump's jab at Wallace for praising Buttigieg is a reference to the host's comments last month comparing the mayor favorably to his fellow Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke; Buttigieg, said Wallace, offers "a lot of substance" and "interesting, refreshing ideas," particularly compared to the Texas Democrat.

In response to Trump's criticism of the network, Fox News Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume offered some praise for Buttigieg and faulted Trump for not taking enough questions from the press. "Say this for Buttigieg. He’s willing to be questioned by Chris Wallace, something you’ve barely done since you’ve been president," said Hume. "Oh, and covering candidates of both parties is part of the job of a news channel."

The president's comments about Democrats "dump[ing]" Fox News from the party's debates refers to the Democratic National Committee announcing in early March that it is barring the network from hosting any of the Democratic presidential debates due to alleged ties between the network and the Trump administration. In response, Fox News Senior Vice President Bill Sammon issued a statement urging the DNC to reconsider. "We hope the DNC will reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism, from moderating a Democratic presidential debate," Sammon said. "They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters."

Following Fox News' Sanders event, Trump also issued some critical comments directed at the network and the host of the event, Bret Baier. "So weird to watch Crazy Bernie on Fox News. Not surprisingly, Bret Baier and the 'audience' was so smiley and nice," said Trump via Twitter. "Very strange, and now we have @Donna Brazile?"

Trump also cited "many complaints" that the town hall was "stuffed with Bernie supporters" while Trump supporters were supposedly not "let in." "Many Trump Fans & Signs were outside of the @FoxNews Studio last night in the now thriving (Thank you President Trump) Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for the interview with Crazy Bernie Sanders," Trump tweeted. "Big complaints about not being let in-stuffed with Bernie supporters. What’s with @FoxNews?"

As The Daily Wire pointed out, The Morning Call's coverage of the event noted that Fox News "reached out to various political and local groups in the area and mined requests to attend after it publicly announced the event," and that the event was attended by Trump supporters and independents, as well as Bernie supporters.

 

Despite the criticism of Fox for hosting the South Bend mayor, Trump has continued to tweet and retweet content from Fox News and its various media personalities. A few examples:

The president was also back to slamming left-leaning outlets Monday morning, particularly The New York Times, which he blasted for its recent coverage of his financial dealings. "The Mainstream Media has never been as corrupt and deranged as it is today," Trump tweeted. "FAKE NEWS is actually the biggest story of all and is the true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE! That’s why they refuse to cover the REAL Russia Hoax."

 

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