Inside the 6th Avenue HQ of Fox News, there was disappointment at the Kramer Talent repped Smith heading for the door. There is also a presumption among many that the anchor was caught in a verbal vice from Trump that was straining relations for executives with the White House and other big names at the once Fair and Balanced network. A situation in which Smith was the sacrificial lamb, even if it was eventually by his own choice.

“You can say a lot of things about Roger Ailes, but this wouldn’t have happened if he were still alive and running things at Fox,” a well-placed source at the Rupert Murdoch-owned cabler newser told Deadline after Smith’s departure this afternoon. “Roger took care of his people from the outside, protected them. He would have told Trump to back off.”

Another source noted that current FNC CEO Suzanne Scott seemed to do little to quell the on-air slaps that primetimers Tucker Carlson and Trump de facto Secretary of Media Sean Hannity took at the afternoon anchor. “It was just embarrassing to see and I feel like the bullies won.”