On Friday night at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Donald Trump reportedly regaled a group of big-dollar campaign donors with a blow-by-blow account of the drone strike that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on January 3. On Saturday, it appeared that Trump was spending a quieter evening, live-tweeting Fox News.
As seen in the tweet below by Media Matters researcher Matt Gertz, Trump posted a quote about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to his Twitter account, just nine minutes after Fox News personality Judge Jeanine Pirro made the same statement on her Justice With Judge Jeanine program.
“What a disgrace this Impeachment Scam is for our great Country!” Trump then added, in his own comment.
The tweet, posted at 9:12 p.m. EST, was already Trump’s seventh of his Saturday evening, though the first of the evening hours were spend to directly live-tweet a Fox News broadcast. However, on Saturday morning, Trump posted two tweets directly responding to the Fox & Friends Weekend Edition. Gertz also reposted those tweets on his own account, as seen below.
Other topics covered by Trump on his Saturday night Twitter feed included a “massive 200 Billion Dollar Sea Wall” built around New York City, which Trump called “costly, foolish & environmentally unfriendly,” as well as the “RECORD BREAKING stock market,” and the new book A Very Stable Genius by two Washington Post reporters, which Trump called “FAKE.”
How are you spending your Saturday night? The president is live-tweeting Justice with Judge Jeanine on Fox News.
Left, Fox's Justice, 9:03 p.m.
Right, Trump, 9:12 p.m. pic.twitter.com/dbcIc5HcsH
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) January 19, 2020
Trump sent both of these tweets in response to the same segment; the top one is the chyron, the bottom a quote from Stephen Moore.
Left, Fox & Friends Weekend Edition, 7:25 a.m.
Right, Trump, 8:33 and 8:35 a.m. pic.twitter.com/zeYvR3RM0m
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) January 18, 2020
Gertz has tracked Trump’s Twitter account, monitoring how frequently he live-tweets Fox News broadcasts throughout his term. Among his findings have been that in 2019, Trump live-tweeted Fox News broadcasts 613 times or an average of 1.75 Fox News tweets per day.
But Trump’s Fox News tweets are not merely a way for him to pass the time, according to Gertz’s findings. By repeating factoids and opinions that he has heard on Fox News, Trump has often allowed the network to shape the United States government policy and his own actions. The 35-day government shutdown that ended 2018 and opened 2019 appeared to be the result of Trump’s close attention to Fox News hosts who pushed hard on the air for the shutdown, according to Gertz.
During the House of Representatives debate over his impeachment on December 18, Gertz tallied 13 Fox News tweets from Trump — even though White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham claimed that he “continues to work while this is all going on.”
“A man with unparalleled access to the world’s most powerful information-gathering machine,” relies instead on Fox News hosts for his guidance on how to respond to national and world events, Gertz wrote in a 2018 Politico article, after he had spent the previous three months monitoring Trump’s Twitter feed.