If President Donald Trump happened to have indulged in some undefined “executive time” Thursday night by watching hours and hours of Fox News (he’s been known to do just that) he would have found, hour after hour, the media equivalent of a warm glass of milk.
Over an evening of coverage of Trump’s racist attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and others, the message was consistent: Mr. President, you’re right.
There’s at least some indication he was watching: By Friday morning, Trump had pinned Fox News host Mark Levin’s rant during Sean Hannity’s show to the top of of his Twitter page.
“Their families really have done nothing for this country,” Levin said at one point during his remarks in the last quarter of Hannity’s hour, referring to the congresswomen of color Trump has repeatedly attacked this week. “I don’t know what they’ve done in support of this country while they rip this great country apart.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2019
“Wow, that’s why I call you the great one,” Hannity told Levin after he’d finished.
For those responding more specifically to the past 24 hours’ news — namely, the hauntingly loud chant of “send her back” during a Trump re-election rally in North Carolina Wednesday night, after he spent several minutes bashing Omar — the President hadn’t made it easy to defend him.
While the chant followed the logic of Trump’s earlier racist attack urging the congresswomen to “go back” from whence they’d come, and even though he listened to the chant for several seconds before it died down, Trump offered a meek disapproval of it on Thursday, even falsely saying he’d made an effort to stop it.
Commentators worked with what they had.
“It took him by surprise. He processed it. And he deflected from it,” Darrell Scott, the pro-Trump pastor, said on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show. “He didn’t want to distance himself from his base, however, in distancing himself from this chant.”
“I don’t think they were saying ‘send her back’ as much as they were saying ‘these views are repugnant,’” Hannity had said an hour earlier.
After his guest, Dan Bongino, said Americans were tired of “having this country crapped on constantly” by the likes of Omar, Hannity butted in.
“Do you believe that that’s what the people who were chanting last night in North Carolina, about how outrageous [it is]? This is a country that has opened its hearts to people from every country around the world. It that what they were angry about?” Hannity asked.
“I think so,” Bongino replied, falsely adding “we take in millions of people a year.”
Sean Hannity: "I don't think they were chanting 'send her back' so much as they're saying 'these views are repugnant'" pic.twitter.com/lCidcLOWqs
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) July 19, 2019
The next morning, Trump pushed back on critics of the “send her home” chant, saying the media was “crazed” over it.
Also on Friday morning, Politico reported on a proposal from his administration last week to accept no refugees at all during the next fiscal year. As of May 31, the United States had only admitted 18,051 refugees since October, and only 22,491 the entire year prior.
Corey Lewandowski, the President’s former campaign manager, made no such argument about America’s generosity during an appearance on “The Story” with Martha MacCallum. As did many others, he simply parroted the President’s words back at him.
“If you don’t love this country, you can leave Congress. You can go back to somewhere else,” Lewandowski said.
Some in the Fox lineup veered into the conspiratorial, rather than facing the news head on: Tucker Carlson featured, and then Ingraham replayed, an interview with a Power Line blog writer on allegations of fraud against Omar, which both hosts noted had not been established by Fox News.
The network’s Trace Gallagher said on Ingraham’s show that Fox have “looked into these allegations but we have not found concrete evidence to confirm them.”
Hannity noted, as if making a point: “Omar has denied the story, but she hasn’t disproven it.”
The network rounded out the afternoon with numerous allegations of anti-Semitism against the Minnesota congresswoman and her colleagues, or as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee described to Sean Hannity, “the anti-Semitism, the hate for Israel, the disgust for America.”
Special attention was paid to a resolution from the four congresswomen that Trump has targeted recently — Omar, Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — on the right of free protest.
In light of several efforts to legislate bans against support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks greater Israeli acknowledgement of Palestinians’ human rights, the congresswomen introduced H.R. 496, which is just a few lines long and affirms “that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.”
You wouldn’t know that from Fox.
“What Omar and her cohorts are supporting, Brooke Goldstein of the Lawfare Project baselessly said on MacCallum’s show, “isn’t the boycotting of Israel, it’s the targeting of American Jews and Israeli Jews.”
She added: “What’s lost in this fake outrage over Trump’s comments is that the real racists here, really the modern day Nazis, are getting away with murder.”