Bret Baier’s sympathetic-to-DeSantis questions in Part 2 of the Trump interview were the final giveaway.
I wrote in my post about Part One of his interview with Trump that whatever the reason Baier was so challenging - whether it be the Murdochs’ desire to be rid of the former guy, Baier’s desire to rehab his reputation after the embarrassing revelations in the Dominion suit, or some combination of the two – good journalism was surely not behind it. There was no reason to think otherwise in Part Two.
Baier knocks Trump on the right-wing sacred cow of tax cuts
This exchange jumped right out at me to partially seal the deal, so to speak. It started when Baier asked Trump if his economic policies would “roughly be similar to your first term as far as taxes, regulation?”
Trump gave a rambling, often incoherent answer that seemed to amount to “more tax cuts and deregulation.” He concluded with, “I did the biggest tax cuts in the history of our country. Bigger than the Reagan tax cuts. And the biggest regulation cuts in the history of our country.”
Baier’s pushback suggested he was operating on behalf of wealthy business people, the kind that benefited from the tax cuts like, say, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch and Fox News top earners like Baier and his other higher ups.
BAIER: And business people will agree with that. They do have concerns that that costs something. The U.S. added $8 trillion to the national debt under your administration, about 3 1/2 trillion before COVID. Much of that time you had a Republican Congress.
So, if voters are concerned about the debt, why should they believe you'll address the debt in another term?
Yes, it’s possible Baier is so much inside the bubble, that’s all he can see. But I suspect he’d have managed to see plenty more if he’d been interviewing a Democrat. But it's his phrasing of "Why should they believe," instead of, "so what is your plan to reduce the deficit" that speaks so loudly.
Trump floats the conspiracy theory that China unleashed COVID on the U.S. to sabotage his re-election
Later, Trump suggested COVID was a bioweapon from China designed to “get me out.” Baier pushed back mildly and “tough guy” Trump immediately backed off:
TRUMP: Bret, we were going to make so much money. Now, everything was set. Then, we got the COVID. COVID came in, our gift from China. And we had to do other things.
BAIER: You believe that?
TRUMP: No, I don't. I believe that it came in from Wuhan. I said that. If you go back, you'll see, I'm the one that said it came in from the Wuhan labs from Day One.
I was told a lot of things, like, don't close up the country in terms of China. I did. And it was a -- I saved hundreds of 1000s of lives. I believe it was incompetence, actually.
I -- you know, there’s two thoughts. They did it. But there is another thought. I was so tough on China, they did it to get me out. But I did better on the left --
BAIER: You don't believe that part.
TRUMP: I don't believe that. No, I don't -- I actually think they were just incompetent.
Why bring it up if you don’t really believe it? Baier did not ask.
Baier promotes DeSantis, suggests Trump is dishonestly attacking him
As the conversation moved on to the COVID shutdowns, Baier challenged Trump for attacking Fox fave, Ron DeSantis. It suggests that Baier was more concerned with Trump's attacks on DeSantis than with floating conspiracy theories about COVID.
TRUMP: I told all governors, “you do what you want. You can shut it down or not." Florida, by the way, he shut it down tight. No highways, no beaches, no this. Many --
BAIER: But then, pushed back pretty hard, he opened up.
TRUMP: I know.
BAIER: But is it fair to criticize him on that? He was credited for how Florida dealt with COVID.
TRUMP: Sure, sure. He got credit because he has better P.R. than other governors. But other governors did a better job than Ron Desanctimonious. So, look --
BAIER: Why do you use that name?
TRUMP: Because I got him elected, and I thought it was very disloyal when he said, "Yes, I’d run."
Trump went on and on about how he got DeSantis elected and how DeSantis did not return the loyalty. Then Baier stuck the knife into Trump’s sob story and twisted it:
BAIER: So, when your PAC is running ads against him, and actually, it adds up to more money than you spent supporting GOP candidates in 2022 so far.
TRUMP: I supported -- I supported a lot of candidates.
BAIER: I know, but your tally so far on the PAC running ads against DeSantis is more than that support.
TRUMP: Yes. So, let me --
BAIER: So, why do it? I mean --
TRUMP: Let me tell you --
BAIER: Do you see him as the biggest threat?
TRUMP: Well, he is the number two right now. Yes. I mean, you know, at some place, he could be replaced. The way he's going right now, he's dropping like a rock. He could be number three, number four, and you won't ever hear me talking about him again.
I rest my case.
You can watch it below, from the June 20, 2023 Special Report.