Although President Trump has usually done nothing but praise Fox News, this weekend he criticized three Fox anchors, according to The Washington Post. He attacked Leland Vittert and Arthel Neville, who are both less well known on Fox News. He also lambasted Shepard Smith, a more well known personality who has fact-checked Trump on Fox in the past.
At the same time, Trump asked Fox to support two hosts who have come under fire recently for controversial comments, Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson. While the network supported Carlson, it suspended Pirro for saying that Representative Ilhan Omar’s hijab was anti-American.
The issues between Trump and Fox come as Fox Corp. began public trading as the parent of Fox News, Fox Entertainment, and Fox Sports. The company resulted from the sale of 21st Century Fox’s assets to Disney Corp. The company is now headed by Lachlan Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch. Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes co-founded Fox News.
Fox Corp. quickly appointed former House speaker Paul D. Ryan to its board of directors. Neither Democrats no strong Trump supports support Ryan, as he is an establishment conservative who refused to defend Trump or campaign with him in 2016.
Apparently, Pirro and Trump converse regularly, and spoke before he tweeted. Pirro and Trump have had a relationship for decades, and it is clear from their conversations and his tweets that she has a strong influence over him.
Trump asked Fox to “keep fighting” for Pirro and Carlson.
Fox “must stay strong and fight back with vigor,” Trump wrote. “Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die! Stay true. . . to the people that got you there.”
After that tweet, he tagged Neville and Vittert in another tweet, which asked if they were “trained by CNN prior to their ratings collapse.”
“In any event, that’s where they should be working, along with their lowest rated anchor, Shepard Smith!” Trump added.
This isn’t the first time Trump has criticized Fox. In January, he criticized Fox White House reporters John Roberts and Gillian Turner. He tweeted, “Never thought I’d say this but I think @johnrobertsfox and @gillianHTurner @foxnews have even less understanding of the Wall negotiations than the folks at FAKE NEWS CNN & NBC! Look to final results! Don’t know how my poll numbers are so good, especially up 19% with Hispanics?”
Fox News correspondent Jeff Paul responded to the president’s tweets about Neville and Vittert. He wrote, “They’re both incredible journalists, constantly engaged and inquisitive. I’m proud to call them colleagues . . . as I am proud to work with @ShepNewsTeam each week.”