The opinion hosts at Fox News have been loyal soldiers in the Trump army, lying flagrantly every night to defend him against impeachment, but a handful of news hosts and contributors — Chris Wallace, Neil Cavuto, and Andrew Napolitano most obviously — and Trump is furious that Fox allows them to criticize him.
So far, Trump’s wall of support from House and Senate Republicans appears as solid as ever. But Trump is less certain about the strength of his ultimate line of defense: Fox News. According to multiple sources who’ve spoken with Trump as impeachment has unfolded in the House, Trump is furious with pockets of Fox’s coverage. “He’s pissed. He thinks Fox screwed him,” a former West Wing official said. The news division carried the impeachment hearings live, a rare instance in which unmediated evidence of Trump’s misdeeds could pierce the Fox bubble. The network’s legal commentator, Judge Andrew Napolitano, declared Trump’s defiance of Congress “an impeachable offense,” a position that directly contradicted the House Republicans’ handpicked witness, George Washington University law scholar Jonathan Turley. Trump has also been engaged in a running war with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace; after Trump tweeted last month that Wallace was “nasty,” fellow Foxer Neil Cavuto rushed to Wallace’s defense…On Sunday, Trump lashed out on Twitter, writing: “Don’t get why @FoxNews puts losers on like @RepSwalwell (who got ZERO as presidential candidate before quitting), Pramila Jayapal, David Cicilline and others who are Radical Left Haters? The Dems wouldn’t let @FoxNews get near their bad ratings debates, yet Fox panders. Pathetic!” Also over the weekend, Trump tweeted multiple stories from Fox rival Newsmax run by Trump’s friend Chris Ruddy. “Having any opposing voices is a problem for Trump,” a Republican who spoke with the president told me. “He was saying this coverage is bullshit. This was a shot across the bow to all the hosts.”
Inside Fox, the message was received. “He’s clearly worried we’re really going to cover this fairly, and he’s starting to freak. This is about keeping us in line,” a Fox staffer told me.
This is Trump showing his authoritarianism and fervent desire to control what the media says. He genuinely wants Fox to either force those people to stop criticizing him and stop allowing any contrary voices on the air, or fire them for doing so. It’s a very dangerous belief and behavior by Trump.