Fox Glosses Over Millions Paid To Trump By Foreign Regimes

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump
Trump's Hour On CNN Was A Profile In Cowardice

Fox News anchor Bret Baier provided one of the network’s few acknowledgements of a House Democratic report documenting millions of dollars in payments by foreign governments to former President Donald Trump’s businesses while he was in office. In a headline report taking up less than 40 seconds — the first mention of the story at all Thursday on Fox News — Baier focused primarily on the Trump Organization’s rebuttal, which attempted to change the subject to Fox’s shared obsession with Hunter Biden.

Fox News has spent years claiming that President Joe Biden was compromised by foreign governments — especially China — only to have a congressional report point the finger at Trump instead. Media Matters found that Fox’s dayside programming failed to mention this story at all, even though it had received extensive coverage Thursday morning in both The New York Timesand The Washington Post, as well as in Fox’s corporate cousin The Wall Street Journal.

Baier’s brief headline report featured two arguments from the Trump Organization: that Trump supposedly donated profits derived from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury while in office; and that one of the highlighted business transactions involved a Trump Tower lease that was first signed in 2008, before Trump ran for president.

The Trump Organization stated in 2018 that it had donated over $150,000 to the U.S. Treasury, followed by more payments in 2019 and 2020, supposedly representing the profits derived from foreign governments doing business at Trump hotels. Even at the time, experts pointed out that the company provided no transparency into how this figure was calculated. (The House Democratic report revealed that the Chinese government and state-controlled entities spent $5.5 million at Trump properties throughout his time in office, and other foreign governments paid $2.3 million to his businesses.)

And the money spent at Trump’s properties is just one of many potential conflicts of interest highlighted in the House Democrats’ report. The report also mentions a story that ran years ago regarding Ivanka Trump’s apparent ability to fast-track trademark approvals in China after her father was elected. One such occasion, in which then-President Trump publicly supported the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE, drew criticism at the time for creating at least the appearance of a serious conflict of interest.

Additionally, the argument that some of these arrangements may have predated Trump’s presidency underscores the vacuity of Fox’s ongoing coverage of Republican-led investigations into the Biden family — all of which are meant to provide a pretext to impeach Biden. Many of these supposed bombshell reports have focused on business deals by either the president’s son Hunter or the president’s brother James. Many of these supposed smoking guns have involved events that took place in 2017 and 2018, when Joe Biden didn’t hold any public office and seemed unlikely to ever do so again. And nobody has ever demonstrated actual involvement of Joe Biden.

Baier is set to host Trump on Fox next week, co-moderating a town hall event that Trump is holding with the network instead of participating in a Republican primary debate on CNN.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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