The feud switch is officially back in the “ON” position for Donald Trump and Fox News. The prominent Republican candidate, whose claim to the title of “frontrunner” is now in doubt according to some polls, found himself in a contentious exchange with the hosts of Fox and Friends on Wednesday. It all centered around Donald Trump’s ongoing public critiques of the Bush Administration’s efforts with regard to the September 11 terror attacks.
Although the aforementioned interview began on a congenial note, things got awkward when Brian Kilmeade challenged Donald Trump’s tendency to imply that George W. Bush could have done more to prevent the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. In an account offered by Business Insider, it is noted that Fox played an excerpt from an interview with Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of New York at the time of the attacks. While Giuliani described Trump as a friend, he also asserted that the real estate mogul’s recent comments about the Bush administration were incorrect. Donald Trump was indignant at the former mayor’s remarks.
“I don’t care about his comments,” Trump shot back. “Finally, I had to say, ‘Look, excuse me, but the World Trade Center came down during his reign, let’s call it.’… And everybody said, ‘Oh, we never thought of that.’… The fact is he got a free pass because after the World Trade Center came down, we didn’t have an attack. But the World Trade Center was the single biggest attack in the history of our country — bigger than Pearl Harbor because it was an attack on civilians.”
Host Brian Kilmeade defended George W. Bush and asserted that it would have been next to impossible to stop the attacks given the intelligence available at the time, but Trump was unimpressed with the point. Trump and Kilmeade continued to spar over the invasion of Iraq and other matters, prompting co-host Steve Doocy to wade into the discussion. Trump told Doocy that his immigration policies, had they been implemented in 2001, would have forced the terrorists involved in 9/11 out of the United States. The Fox and Friends personality had a hard time buying it.
“In nine months you would have swept up every person overstaying their visa?” Doocy asked.
Trump replied by simply doubling down on his assertions.
Later the same day, Fox News contributor Howard Kurtz published a lengthy piece noting the backlash against Trump for what appears to be his embrace of the 9/11 “Truther” movement.
The friction generated during the live interview remained stuck in Trump’s craw well into Thursday morning, when the outspoken and social media savvy candidate took to Twitter for an airing of grievances. While he also took a shot at the Wall Street Journal, the main subject of his disdain was Fox News.
“[Fox News] is changing their theme from ‘fair and balanced’ to ‘unfair and unbalanced,'” Trump tweeted.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2016
To be sure, Donald Trump’s battles with media outlets are both wide-ranging and well-documented. But his animus towards Fox News, an organization that is typically viewed as one of the most Republican-friendly news outlets, has been the stuff of an unprecedented and unpredictable feud this election season. While most of his ire has been directed at Fox personality Megyn Kelly, Trump has repeatedly spoken out against the entire organization as a whole. With a number of hotly contested primary elections on the horizon and the prospect of a divided convention this summer, there are still plenty of opportunities for detente. But if history is a sound predictor of the future, there will also be ample opportunities for further hard feelings between Fox News and Donald Trump before anyone reaches the finish line in the current presidential race.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]