Fox News publicly chided two of its hosts for appearing onstage with President Trump at a Missouri campaign rally on Monday night.
Trump kicked off his remarks in Cape Girardeau by noting he had been speaking with Sean Hannity backstage. “And Sean said, there is nobody like this man. And he’s a real good guy. Although he’s tough, he’s tough. But, boy, I’ll tell you what, when he’s on your side, there’s nobody you want better. I mean, it’s really great. It’s really great when he’s with you,” Trump said, then beckoning the Fox host to come join him on the stage.
“By the way, all those people in the back are fake news,” Hannity said, referencing the pen for the press pool that also included Fox News journalists.
“Mr. President, I did an opening monologue today, and I had no idea you were going to invite me up here. And the one thing that has made and defined your presidency more than anything else: Promises made, promises kept,” Hannity continued. “Four-and-a-half million new American jobs, 4.3 million Americans off food stamps, 4 million Americans out of poverty. And we’re not dropping cash loads and cargo planes of cash to Iranian mullahs that chant death to America.”
Trump said that “we don’t mean at all to insult — look at the size of the media back there.”
“That’s a lot of people. And you do have, honestly, I see some — you have some very fine people back there. But you have some that aren’t so fine,” he added.
Hannity tweeted this morning, “To be clear, I was not referring to my journalist colleagues at FOX News in those remarks. They do amazing work day in and day out in a fair and balanced way and It is an honor to work with such great professionals.”
Trump then asked Jeanine Pirro to speak.
“If you like the America that he is making now, you’ve got to make sure you get out there tomorrow, if you haven’t voted yet. Everyone you know, your grandmother, your cousin, your kids, even your next-door neighbor if you don’t like them, get them out to vote for Donald Trump and all — not the — all the people who are running for the Republican Party,” Pirro said.
Trump lauded Pirro as “a great, great friend to all of us.”
Fox News issued a statement today stating that the network “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.”
“We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight and we are extremely proud of their work,” the statement added. “This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”
Hannity tweeted today, “When the POTUS invited me on stage to give a few remarks last night, I was surprised, yet honored by the president’s request. This was NOT planned.”
The network previously scolded Hannity for appearing in a Trump campaign ad in September 2016, announcing afterward that “we were not aware of Sean Hannity participating in a promotional video and he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election season.”