Donald Trump’s abrupt reversal on the decision to shut down the federal government over a lack of funding for his border wall was a shock to many political experts — but not those who were following Fox News closely.
On Thursday, Trump reversed course on previous signals that he would sign a bill to keep the government open even if it did not include the $5 billion in border wall funding he was seeking. In a shocking move, the president told Republican congressional leaders that he had decided not to sign the short-term resolution to keep the government open, and CNN analyst Chris Cillizza believes that Fox News is at the heart of the decision.
He noted that Donald Trump is very easily swayed by segments he watches on Fox News, and his favorite show, Fox & Friends, had blasted Trump for giving in on his demand for border wall funding.
“What a stunning turn of events,” Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy said on the show.
“If [Trump] agrees to the [short-term funding resolution] which would continue funding the government at the current levels… he loses and the Democrats will win everything they want.”
The messages were echoed across other Fox News programs, with uncharacteristic criticism for Donald Trump for apparently giving up on one of his chief campaign promises. As Cillizza wrote, that was likely all the cajoling that Trump needed to reverse course and decide to shut down the federal government after all.
“If you think that criticism didn’t impact Trump’s thinking on the wall, you don’t know Trump,” Cillizza wrote.
“He prizes his political base over all else. And he views Fox and Friends as the in-house programming for the base. If Fox and Friends is blasting him, Trump knows his base hears it.”
Donald Trump has made other stunning reversals after being swayed by Fox News segments. As the Daily Beast noted, Trump appears to be especially connected to legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, frequently tweeting about segments he sees from the former judge and sometimes even going against his own administration in doing so. Earlier this year, Napolitano spoke out against legislation to renew FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), prompting Trump to tweet against the renewal despite the White House officially supporting it until that point.
So, after being called out by his own personal YouTube network, Trump let House Republicans know that he wouldn’t be signing anything because Fox News runs the White House: https://t.co/TfEIej0XD0 pic.twitter.com/QBnqJmHeTY
— The Root (@TheRoot) December 20, 2018
This led Republicans in Congress to scramble, though Donald Trump ultimately backed off his opposition and the measure was passed. The future of the government shutdown remained uncertain, but Trump’s reversal earned the praise of Fox News on Thursday.