Fox Hosts Excuse Trump’s Admitted Lies About Pandemic Threat

Donald Trump, press briefing

Fox News host Pete Hegseth

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

For his new book, Bob Woodward taped conversations with President Donald Trump earlier this year. In some of the tapes, Trump admits that he knew the novel coronavirus was deadly even while he was downplaying it in public. Despite the damning revelation, Fox personalities immediately defended Trump.

In newly released audio excerpts from Woodward's interviews with Trump, the president said on a February 7 recording: "You just breathe the air and that's how it's passed. And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flu." In another conversation, Trump admitted that he was downplaying the risk of the virus, saying, "To be honest with you, I wanted to always play it down."

Even though the revelations show that the president misled the public about a pandemic that is a few days out from having caused the deaths of 200,000 Americans, Fox personalities immediately went to bat for Trump.

On Outnumbered, Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis portrayed Trump as the victim, saying he would be attacked no matter what he said: "This is a situation where if the president didn't know it was serious, he was ignoring the science. When he talks about it's serious, he didn't emphasize that to the public enough."


Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Pete Hegseth dismissed Woodward's book as a "trash Trump book." Hegseth called it a "yawn to voters," saying the election would not be about COVID-19.

Francis continued, suggesting that reports that show Trump lied to American public are just from "an inside the Washington bubble type of book." Francis also commented that Americans may be too "busy with other stuff" to care about the president lying to them.

Fox anchor Harris Faulkner glossed right over Trump's lies, saying, "We don't need a book to tell us how much pain we've suffered as a nation."

After Fox aired White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany's press conference, Faulkner just reiterated what McEnany said: "So she never said, Kayleigh McEnany, that the conversations about coronavirus didn't happen. However, however, she said the president never misled the people."

Faulkner interviewed progressive radio host Ethan Bearman and repeatedly tried to make the revelation about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

After Fox aired remarks by Biden, Fox correspondent and guest anchor John Roberts framed Trump lying as Biden's allegation. Roberts and Fox correspondent Kristin Fisher then spent time reviewing the White House's reaction.

Fox News' website led with the White House's reaction to the story.

Update (3:00 p.m.): CNN's Brian Stelter points out that a Fox on-air graphic got the date wrong for one snippet of Woodward audio.


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

We Have No Choice But Beating Trump On Election Day -- And We Surely Can

Former President Donald Trump

Photo by Sam Wolfe/Reuters

Well, the big news is that after a couple of days of even more expert analysis, nothing’s going to save us. Certainly not the Supreme Court. They’re in the tank for Donald Trump, full stop. It doesn’t matter which way they will eventually rule on his claim of absolute immunity, hell, it doesn’t even matter whether they’ll rule at all. They’re going to toss the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist ban in the garbage, and then they’re going to dilly dally until presidential immunity is a moot point.

Keep reading...Show less
Gun Violence

A bill that will allow Louisiana residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit is headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Jeff Landry. The bill would also remove current requirements for new gun owners to have their fingerprints taken and attend a training course on firearm safety. Landry has already indicated he intends to sign this bill into law.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ }}