In his first campaign rally since what he described as the end of the “Russia hoax,” President Trump on Thursday promoted his favorite Fox News stars and mocked Fox’s competitors for suffering ratings drops post-Mueller.
Just days after Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report found the Trump campaign didn’t conspire with Russia in its election interference, Trump began the rally by blasting Democrats for pushing a “hoax” that he said is “forever broken” and calling the House Intelligence Committee chairman “Little Pencil Neck Adam Schiff.” But the president quickly moved on and delighted the Grand Rapids crowd by going after his favorite target—the media.
“The media bosses, they are bad people,” Trump bellowed. “The crooked journalists, the totally dishonest TV pundits. And by the way, they know it’s not true! They just got great ratings.”
Moving his hand in a downward motion, Trump then said “their ratings dropped through the floor last night,” referencing the plummeting viewerships of CNN and MSNBC following Barr’s letter.
The president then took the opportunity to plug Fox News’ fiercely pro-Trump primetime lineup, saying “our friends” Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham were “through the roof” Wednesday night, prompting raucous chants of “lock them up” and “lock her up” from the audience.
Moments later, Trump went back to praising his Fox News pals, this time adding some of the network’s non-primetime personalities (and one notable talk radio host).
“We have some great, great friends in the media, too,” the president excitedly remarked. “If you look at Rush [Limbaugh] and Sean [Hannity] and Laura [Ingraham] and Steve [Doocy] and Ainsley [Earhardt] and Tucker [Carlson] and Jeanine [Pirro]!”
Pirro, of course, was recently suspended by the network for Islamophobic comments she made about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and her show’s last two broadcasts were pulled from the air. While Fox has not publicly commented on Pirro’s suspension, Hannity noted during his Wednesday interview with Trump that Pirro would be back Saturday, something the president eagerly shared during the rally.
“Jeanine is back,” he declared as the crowd cheered, “She’ll be back on Saturday night. Jeanine!”