President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency in order to secure more funding for his border wall than Congress is willing to give is another example of the president deferring to his “Fox cabinet,” Media Matters wrote on Thursday.
The right-wing network’s hosts, several of whom also play key roles as unofficial presidential advisers, have been urging him to take this step for the last month.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced during a Thursday afternoon Senate floor speech that Trump intended to both sign the compromise legislation to fund the government -- which includes $1.375 billion in wall funding -- and use a national emergency to obtain more money. The White House subsequently confirmed that plan.
Fox News host Sean Hannity — a noted confidante of the president — suggested Trump make this very move during his show on Tuesday night, saying he was “not as concerned as some other conservatives if the president signs the bill,” as long as Trump “simultaneously” declared a national emergency.
Hannity, who has a close relationship with the president and frequently talks to him on the phone, had previously denounced the government funding bill and threatened any Republican legislator who supported it. But he changed his tune, perhaps because of a call he reportedly received from the White House aimed at “tamping down criticism on the right.” The result appears to be that Trump will be doing the very thing Hannity said on air he should do.
And Hannity was not alone — several Fox hosts blasted the bipartisan spending bill for failing to meet Trump’s funding demands for the border wall.
The issue has pitted the likes of Hannity and Lou Dobbs against McConnell and other prominent Republican lawmakers in vying for the president’s ear.
This is the culmination of a month-long struggle between Senate Republican leaders like McConnell and Fox hosts like Hannity and Lou Dobbs. Since Trump first floated the idea of a national emergency declaration in early January, McConnell and his allies have been trying to persuade the president not to go through with it, citing potential legal struggles and the possibility of a congressional resolution disapproving the declaration. Meanwhile, Hannity and Dobbs, whose Fox programs the president watches regularly and whom the president frequently consults for political advice, have been urging him to do it on a nearly nightly basis.
The Fox cabinet won, Media Matters noted.
Right-wing infotainers can bend the ear of the president of the United States and drastically shift federal government policy according to their whims. They have this outsized influence because Trump consumes hours of television each day and is desperate to receive constant validation from the people he watches. We've reached a point where Fox is all but running the country.