Et Tu, Fox & Friends?
President Trump apparently watches this show during his early morning “executive time,” so there’s a chance he saw this today when not one but two of the show’s co-hosts challenged the phrase “enemy of the people” as a way to refer to the media.
“I really wish he would lose that term,” co-host Kilmeade said, adding, “It doesn’t help anybody.” He continued, “It doesn’t push back on the media that he wants to push back on and I think it gets too many other people…get shrapnel with that statement. Because the press isn’t the enemy of the people. Some of the things they say and the way they stack their shows, the president could look [at them] as if they’re targeting him and he’s got a case. But that broad statement does a lot of damage.”
Co-host Steve Doocy said, “Well I think he probably feels like they are not doing him any favors and so he doesn’t like ’em, ultimately. But are they the enemy of the people? I don’t think so either.”
Only co-host Ainsley Earhardt chose not to chime in, though I sort of get the impression producers might have been urging the hosts to move on from the topic. Kilmeade at one point started to say something else and then dropped it.
It’s not the first time Kilmeade has disagreed with Trump on the show. In fact, Kilmeade has challenged Trump on the wisdom of some of his statements pretty regularly. Still, the president seems to still be a fan of the show so maybe he appreciates some tough love once in a while.
All of this was prompted by an interview Trump gave to Laura Ingraham which aired on her show last night. Ingraham also pushed Trump a bit on why he chose to use the phrase. Trump responded, “When I say the enemy of the people, I mean the fake news.” Trump then talked a bit about his attempts to improve the situation with North Korea as an example of the media treating him unfairly.
“But how does it help expand your base to call them the enemy of the people?” Ingraham asked. She added, “How does it help America heal in times like this?”
Trump talked some more about North Korea, finishing his point and then said, “It’s my form of telling the truth.”
Kilmeade is right in this case. He’s right that Trump has reason to complain about some of the coverage he gets, and he’s right that “enemy of the people” is a big club when what would often be better is a scalpel. You saw some of this yesterday when CNN’s Jim Acosta was going after Sarah Sanders. Acosta asked for a list of media organizations the president believes are enemies of the people. Sanders said it wasn’t always about organizations but individuals. If so, Trump should be free to name those people and call out what they got wrong, but as Kilmeade said, “that broad statement” results in a lot of people taking shrapnel.
Trump has heard all of these complaints before and it hasn’t changed his approach. The difference is that now he’s hearing it from his friends. Maybe that will make him think twice. Here’s the clip of Fox & Friends: