I doubt Donald Trump did anything to help his approval ratings in his lie-filled, empathy-lacking virtual town hall on Fox News last night. He certainly did nothing to help suffering Americans.
According to Reliable Sources, the reaction to Trump sitting underneath the great statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial was polarized. “GOP pros said it looked amazing. Dem operatives said it made Trump look pathetically small in the shadow of a stone-faced Honest Abe,” Brian Stelter wrote. I’m in the “pathetically small” camp. I’ll bet that even the GOP pros would privately agree.
Reliable Sources also noted that, just as in my post about Trump whining he’s been treated worse than the assassinated Lincoln, the supposedly “straight news” hosts, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum looked more like lapdogs than journalists throughout the interview:
As CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale pointed out, Sunday's town hall was "one of those (frequent) nights when it's hard to keep up with the pace of the president's dishonesty."
But you wouldn't have known watching the event live. Baier and MacCallum didn't hold Trump accountable in any meaningful way. Instead, most of the program featured them lob up softballs to the President and take questions from viewers.
But besides the lies, it’s hard for me to see how this propaganda extravaganza did anything to shore up Trump’s sinking poll numbers, the only statistics he obviously cares about.
My guess is that Trump's intended message for what Fox called, “America Together: Returning to Work,” was “It’s all working out.” The only problem is that no stagecraft or spin can change the fact that it clearly isn’t for a large swath of Trump supporters.
The Daily Beast’s Scott Bixby has a great summary:
“I think it’s all working out. You know, the numbers are heading in the right direction,” Trump said, in response to a question about workers at meat processing plants being forced back on the job despite fears of spreading the virus. “It’s all working out. It’s all working out. It’s horrible that we have to go through it, but it’s all working out.”
But as question after question came in from across the country about the specifics of Trump’s response to a pandemic that has effectively shuttered the national economy, Trump primarily responded with boasts about past accomplishments, mini-tirades about past grievances, or generalities about how the nation will “win bigger than we’ve ever won before” once the crisis abates.
“You’re gonna get a job where you’re gonna get more money, frankly,” Trump told a single mom in Alabama who said she was facing eviction and struggled to pay even the smallest bills. “I’ve got a great feel for this stuff.”
“I want ’em to go back, yeah, I want to get our country back,” Trump said, in response to a pair of questions from a teacher and student about his plan to reopen the nation’s schools. “We have to go back. We have to go back. And, whatever it is.”
You can watch the full, nearly two-hour sycophancy below or you can read the transcript at Rev.
From the start, when Trump makes the statement “… there’s more help coming there has to be…” it’s the sort of face slap of a contradiction that begs a question asking what policies he’d like to see implemented. The problem for the bobble-head twins asking the questions throughout this farce is any pushback thoroughly embarrasses Dear Leader.
In this instance it’d lead to revealing Trump’s line in the sand relief requires a payroll tax cut which is idiotic because it only helps the employed, not the fall through the cracks callers asking for relief plus it undermines Social Security funding. Yes, it’s briefly glossed over in a different context late in the show but quickly shoved back into the darkness by Pence while the bobble-heads sit in silence. Then, talk about scaring employees heading back to work, you’ve got Moscow Mitch demanding employer immunity as a line in the sand for relief making the workplace potentially unsafe that’s never covered at all in over an hour. It’s a fundamentally mind blowing oversight by Fox News.
Then the endless lies. Lies over the context of Dem’s xenophobia comments, the non-existent Biden apology letter, the context of Pelosi in China Town, no hydroxychloroquine deaths, 40,000 returnees from China fully tested (testing “uneven” according to Axios), claiming America unified because GOP votes as a partisan block (while he trashes Dems), working with countries on vaccine (we jut skipped international meeting on topic), we rebuilt our military/Army had no bullets, empty supply reserves, he’s bringing supply chains back, WHO always wrong (but only when criticized Trump), etc. Probably the biggest lie is mouthed by Mike ‘Grim Reaper’ Pence claiming death rate down.
The only personal high point in this ocean of total bulls—t I saw was a teacher in my county asking a question. Of course, it was spoiled by Trump’s answer. Don’t worry, be happy! You’re young so you’ll be fine. A basic summary of Trump’s responses: Social Darwinism.
The bottom line on Fox News’ town hall? Nice selection of call-ins. Spoiled by ludicrously bad and dishonest responses by Trump. Little to no effort by Baier and McCallum to hold him accountable.
Ask Ainsley Earhardt how she feels about the virus hoax now that her mother is really sick from covid 19.