Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters
Following the U.S. military strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Fox News personalities have tied this event back to the ongoing impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. This commentary has ranged from trying to use the impeachment to justify Trump’s lack of communication with Congress about the strike, to invoking the attack to discredit impeachment.
On Fox & Friends, co-cost Ainsley Earhardt and guest Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) discussed the “conspiracy theory” spread by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) accusing Trump of using the strike as a distraction from impeachment, while Graham also said Trump should not have briefed Democratic or Republican members of Congress.
But later that very morning, Fox Business host Stuart Varney pitched the idea that the Soleimani strike itself ought to take impeachment off the table, during a lead-in appearance on Mornings with Maria: “Are we now going to try to impeach and remove from office the commander-in-chief who’s just taken out one of the world’s leading terrorists? That’s quite a question, I suggest.”
Christian Whiton, a frequent Fox guest and former adviser to the Trump and George W. Bush administrations, published an opinion piece on FoxNews.com that covered a lot of bases, such as accusing Democrats of “singing from Tehran’s song sheet.” And while Whiton at one point lambasted Democrats for “implying Trump acted only to distract the public from the impeachment sham — which most Americans have already tuned out,” many paragraphs later he also declared that the Soleimani strike would send the world a message about impeachment.
Furthermore, don’t think the importance of Trump’s action will be lost in the capitals of other U.S. adversaries. China’s Xi Jinping, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin all undoubtedly hoped that the Democrats’ impeachment sham would have weakened Trump – even if it didn’t remove him from office. Now they know it didn’t.
Fox News contributor Ed Rollins spoke effusively (and quite repetitively) about the “great strength” that Trump had shown, adding that “Democrats are foolish if they are going to continue on this impeachment process, and sort of the peacenik role that they’ve tried to advocate for the last several years. This is an unsafe world, and this shows great strength.”
Rollins also declared: “Congress has given up its opportunity to be briefed in advance, by the leaks that have occurred over the last year in the impeachment process.”
Stuart Varney also raised the point during his regular program Varney & Co.: “Back to Congressman Schiff, who chairs the intelligence committee and has been widely accused of leaking all kinds of stuff which is denigratory to the administration over the past few years — why on earth would the administration tell Adam Schiff in advance that they were about to take out a rotten terrorist overseas? I mean, why on earth would they do that?”
In one notable case of a dog that didn’t bark, however, host Neil Cavuto had on a national security guest, retired Col. Peter Mansoor. After Cavuto quite casually raised the idea that briefing congressional Democrats before the raid might not have been a good idea — because of the impeachment probe leaks — Mansoor explained that Democrats wouldn’t have leaked something of this sensitive nature.
So that’s something, right?