Hannity Claims Trump Rally Appearance Was ‘Not Planned’

Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared on stage with President Trump at his Missouri rally late Monday to parrot his midterm campaign slogans—despite earlier insisting he would only be covering the event as a journalist. “I had no idea you were going to invite me up here,” he said, after noting that “all those people in the back are fake news.”

Trump’s campaign had released a statement Sunday billing Hannity as a “special guest” at the final rally before midterm elections. Soon after, Hannity released a statement on Twitter saying, “To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the President. I am covering final rally for my show.” Fox News also released a statement stressing that Hannity would only be covering the rally. Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also appeared on stage with Trump to show their support.

On Tuesday, Fox News described Hannity’s appearance as an “unfortunate distraction,” and the primetime star tweeted that he was “surprised” by Trump’s request for him to appear on-stage. “This was NOT planned,” he emphasized, later adding that he was “not referring to my journalist colleagues at FOX News” when he mocked “fake news” in the media section of the rally’s venue.