Fox News reporter John Roberts on Monday called Hillary Clinton, who has said her career as a politician is over, the “shadow President” in a Twitter argument with a former Obama administration spokesman.
Roberts, Fox News’ chief White House correspondent, leveled the epithet in an argument with Crooked Media co-founder and former Obama national security spokesman Tommy Vietor.
During President Donald Trump’s press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday, Roberts asked the President about Clinton’s remarks about NFL players who kneel during the national anthem as an act of protest, and Trump’s own tweet expressing his hope that Clinton would campaign for President again.
“Oh, I hope Hillary runs. Is she going to run? I hope. Hillary, please run again. Go ahead,” Trump replied. Speaking about Clinton’s remarks on NFL protests, Trump said: “I think she’s wrong.”
Vietor called Roberts’ query to Trump a “stupid, clickbait question and a wasted opportunity to push him on real issues.”
Roberts fired back, citing the other two questions he asked during the press conference about tax reform and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as his questions in previous White House briefings.
He then referred to Clinton as a “shadow President.”
Vietor criticized the epithet as Fox News “scare tactics” and a diversionary tactic from “Trump’s disastrous leadership.”
Roberts went on to explain what he meant by calling Clinton a “shadow president,” a reference to opposition politicians in British politics.
In British politics, the Shadow Cabinet is formed from members of the opposition party and develops alternative policies to those pushed by the largest party, that in power.
Conservative pundits in the United States have used similar language to imply that there is a covert opposition movement working within the government to sabotage Trump’s presidency.
Fox News’ star host Sean Hannity, a member of the network’s non-news staff who has identified himself as a “talk host” and “not a journalist,” has alleged that “sinister forces” and an anti-Trump “deep state” are working to undermine Trump’s presidency.
Hannity’s claims echoed rhetoric that former White House press secretary Sean Spicer pushed from the official podium in March, when Spicer claimed there were “people that burrowed into government during the eight years of the last administration” who “continue to espouse the agenda of the previous administration.”
While members of the British Shadow Cabinet are active politicians and frequently members of Parliament, Clinton in September said her career “as an active politician” is over and said she is “done with being a candidate.”
“But I am not done with politics, because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake,” Clinton added.