Fox News usually questions President Obama’s priorities when he embarks on trips.
But on Tuesday, it was Obama’s absence at the World Cup in Brazil that had Fox anchor Martha MacCallum looking for answers.
She asked her followers on Twitter if Obama “should be at the game today” between the United States and Belgium.
#IBelieve Do you think the President should be at the game today?
— martha maccallum (@marthamaccallum) July 1, 2014
MacCallum also brought up the question on her morning program, “America’s Newsroom.”
“We want to know should President Obama be at the World Cup today,” she said. “This is a controversial question, I’m finding, because everybody is responding on Twitter to this.”
“I mean, you know in other venues — the Olympics, other huge venues — usually the President represents the United States of America at some point,” MacCallum added. “So, not happening. What do you think about it?”
Vice President Joe Biden attended the national team’s opening match in group play against Ghana (a 2-1 win for the U.S.), but the stakes are decidedly higher against the Belgians. A win would secure America’s first trip to the World Cup quarterfinals since 2002.
MacCallum’s co-host, Eric Shawn, floated a nightmare scenario.
“What if the game doesn’t go so well?” he asked MacCallum. “I don’t want to say that.”
“Well, you have to be there to support your team either way, right?” MacCallum said.
MacCallum was right that her question prompted plenty of passionate responses on Twitter, but most didn’t accuse the president of snubbing the U.S. national team.
Far from expressing anger at Obama’s absence, the overwhelming majority of responses to her question resembled the criticism that Fox typically reserves for Obama whenever he goes on vacation or plays a round of golf.
“He’ll probably go – on the taxpayers’ dime,” responded one Twitter user. “Should be attending to more pressing issues, but why start that now?”
“NO!! Too many issues facing our great land for POTUS to ignore,” said another user. “‘Head in the sand’ approach unacceptable. God help us all!!”
Of course, criticizing Obama for not making the trip would represent very different conservative soccer commentary.
When the U.S. squared off against Germany on Thursday last week, right-wing bomb-thrower Ann Coulter ran a trolling, xenophobic column in which she claimed that the growing interest in soccer is a sign of America’s “moral decay.” The same day, Dr. Keith Ablow, a Fox News contributor, said on-air that he was “suspect” of the World Cup, which he called a convenient “distraction” for Obama.