Trump Takes One Last Jab at Outgoing Shepard Smith: 'He Had Terrible Ratings'
President Donald Trump, never one to be shy about counterpunching against those in the media he believes have treated him unfairly, sent a jab Shepard Smith’s way Friday after learning that Smith was leaving Fox News.
Smith, who was the chief news anchor at Fox News and managing editor of the network’s breaking news team, announced his departure on the air Friday as his last act on Fox.
“I’ve witnessed and reported on the events that shaped our reality. Together with my colleagues, we’ve written a first draft of history and endeavored to deliver it to you while speaking truth to power without fear or favor, in context and with perspective,” he said, according to Fox News.
“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day. That the truth will always matter. That journalism and journalists will thrive,” Smith said in signing off.
The departure of Smith, an occasionally controversial figure who often would criticize Trump, became fodder for questions Friday as Trump was leaving the White House for a rally in Louisiana, according to a White House media pool report.
Trump was asked if his administration pressured Fox News to oust Smith.
“No, I don’t know. Is he leaving?” Trump said. Upon being told Smith was, in fact, leaving Fox, Trump said, “Oh, that’s a shame.”
Trump then took on the role of the questioner.
“Is he leaving because of bad ratings?” Trump asked.
“Tell me. I don’t know. He has terrible ratings. Is he leaving because of his ratings?” Trump said. After being told to ask Smith, Trump added, “I mean, if he’s leaving, I assume he is leaving because he had bad ratings…
“He had the worst ratings on Fox, so there’s a reason — why is Shepard Smith leaving?”
After being told he would have to ask Smith, Trump ended the conversation by saying, “Well, I wish him well. I wish Shepard Smith well.”
Twitter opinions were divided about Smith’s departure.
Shepard Smith’s live reporting during Hurricane Katrina inspired me to pursue a career in TV news. His departure is a huge loss for the team @FoxNews https://t.co/u1P6c7Hw2r
— Kathryn Glass (@Kathryn_Glass) October 12, 2019
NOLTE on Shep Smith: “I say good riddance to this shallow, pious, self-important, unrepentant liar.” https://t.co/RfJr17JCKB
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) October 12, 2019
Trump also tweeted about Smith’s departure on Friday.
Is he leaving due to bad ratings, or some other less important reason? https://t.co/XBr7xVgarc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2019
“Is he leaving due to bad ratings, or some other less important reason?” Trump wrote.
Fox News said there would be no immediate replacement for Smith.
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