President Donald Trump said Wednesday that if Democrats want to exclude Fox News from their 2020 campaign debates, he’ll be more than happy to stay away from debates on any network he thinks is “fake news.”
“Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!” Trump said.
Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2019
Trump’s tweet followed a statement from Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez who singled out Fox News as one network Democrats would not work with for the 2020 campaign.
“I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters,” Perez said in a statement, according to the Washington Examiner.
“That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including Fox News. Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates,” he said.
“Therefore, Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates,” Perez said.
The New Yorker story Perez referenced covered various connections between Trump and Fox News, going back to the era of Roger Ailes, who left Fox News in 2016 amid allegations of sexual harassment, as well as the close relationship between Trump and Fox host Sean Hannity.
That’s really a shame. When it comes to fairness – our news product speaks for itself. We will continue to cover this 2020 race fairly & will continue to invite Democrats- Republicans & Independents on to talk about key issues & substance with our very large viewing audience https://t.co/z0TdftcVmz
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) March 6, 2019
Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and past GOP presidential candidate who now is a CNN commentator, said Wednesday that the Democrats made a mistake.
“It sounds like the kind of thing that pleases, you know, the liberal part, or the left, you know, far left part of the Democratic Party, and sort of makes them feel good,” Santorum told Anderson Cooper.“But just in terms of, you know, trying to sway voters who could be reached, it seems shortsighted, no?”
“There’s legit journalists over there. There’s no question that there is an opinion side to Fox and you’re right, they very much cheer for Trump and put a spin out there, but there’s also a journalist side. And those are the folks that in my presidential debates those were the people who asked the questions and let me assure you they were really tough questions, they were as tough as the ones I got on CNN,” he said.
“So I just say to the Democratic Party, ‘what are you afraid of?'” said Santorum. “You have a much bigger audience, you have an opportunity to make your case, why not make the case?”
Fox News hosted one of 12 debates among Democrats in 2016. It urged Democrats to reconsider.
“We hope the DNC will reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism, from moderating a Democratic presidential debate,” said Bill Sammon, Fox News’ Washington senior vice president and managing editor, in a statement.
“They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters,” he said.
The current debate schedule features 12 debates among the growing number of Democrats seeking the White House. Debates are scheduled to begin in June.
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