Friday marked the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s disastrous interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, in which he seemed to confess to trying to halt a Russian collusion investigation by firing FBI Director James Comey.
In the intervening 12 months, the president has not done a single televised interview with a news reporter of Holt’s stature—instead opting for the safe haven of his friends and boosters across conservative media.
In fact, as liberal watchdog organization Media Matters for America reported Monday, the president has done a total of 15 television interviews following his Holt grilling—and all of those conversations were loaded with sycophancy and softball questions.
The president’s first post-Holt sit-down was with Fox News weekend host Jeanine Pirro, a right-wing firebrand and Trump friend prone to conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton (shocker!).
Unsurprisingly, Pirro offered herself up as a propagandist for Making America Great Again, wondering aloud to the president how, “given your ability, your successes,” how best “we” can “get that across to the American people?” She called the Russia probe an “excuse that the Democrats came up with for losing an election.”
A month later, Trump returned to Fox News for a friendly chat with Ainsley Earhardt, co-host of his favorite TV show in all of cable-news land: Fox & Friends. Once again, a Fox host offered herself up as an unpaid flack, helping the president reframe an ominous tweet threatening Comey as a stroke of genius.
“It was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in those hearings,” Earhardt famously declared, much to the president’s delight.
Two days later, Trump returned yet again to Fox News, chatting with unabashed Trump fan and wannabe cabinet member Pete Hegseth. The tenor of that conversation can be summarized by one of the Fox & Friends weekend host’s opening questions: “Who’s been your biggest opponent? Has it been Democrats resisting? Has it been fake news media? Has it been deep state leaks?”
On July 13, Trump finally ventured outside his Fox News comfort zone for the warm embrace of Christian Broadcasting Network televangelist Pat Robertson, who conducted what can only be described as a reverential interview. “I want you to know there are thousands of people praying for you and holding you up all the time,” he told the president after repeatedly praising his performance.
And then he ended a three-month TV drought by returning for another chat with none other than Hegseth—this time discussing critical issues like NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
A few weeks later, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Trump headed to Puerto Rico to survey the damage and spoke with his longtime pal Geraldo Rivera. The conversation was rather routine, except, naturally, the president ended it with: “You’ve been a great friend, Geraldo.”
Several days thereafter, Trump sat down with his former GOP primary rival Mike Huckabee—serving as a host on Trinity Broadcasting Network. The one-on-one was nothing short of mutually fawning. “You were a rock star [in Puerto Rico], I saw the video of it,” Huckabee beamed. “You have a lot of things out there on the horizon, including North Korea and Kim Jong Un—or as you like to call him, Rocket Man, which I thought was a great moniker.”
Trump thanked Huckabee for having “been so fantastic.”
Within a week, the president sat down with his unofficial cable-news adviser and current BFFL Sean Hannity for a full-on bro-down that attacked the “fake news media” and its “Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia obsession.” At one point, Hannity marveled, “I’ve never seen any one person face as much in terms of attacks as you have.”
In the following week, Trump did not appear on television but called in for radio interviews with Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade (who hosts a Fox News Radio program) and Fox News contributor David Webb (who hosts a right-wing talk show for SiriusXM).
Come late October, Trump was on Fox Business Network—which, despite its moniker, does less business news than “own-the-libs” style commentary—for a friendly chat with his fellow New York business icon Maria Bartiromo.
And two days later, he graced FBN again to sit with Lou Dobbs, the O.G. Trumpist and unofficial adviser who, mid-interview, gushed to Trump how “You’re also one of the most loved and respected” presidents in American history.
In November, the president chatted with then-new Fox News prime-time host Laura Ingraham. The right-wing talk radio star fulfilled her role as someone who’d previously angled for a top White House communications gig, helpfully teeing up for Trump an attack on his top nemesis Hillary Clinton. (She did, however, grill Trump on his failure to secure funding for a border wall.)
Several months later, Trump returned to cable news for an esoteric financial conversation with CNBC’s Joe Kernen, the reliably pro-Trump conservative voice on Squawk Box, the business network’s appropriately named gabfest.
And that same week, he was on Britain’s ITV being interviewed by his former Celebrity Apprentice sidekick and fellow trash-TV aficionado Piers Morgan. The interview was so maligned as “softball” by British media that it spawned a world-famous vulgar BBC meme of the TV host performing anilingus on Trump.
In February, Trump returned to Pirro’s Fox News show, this time by telephone, and proceeded to turn the conversation into a lengthy monologue as the accommodating Fox News host let him go uninterrupted for minutes at a time. It was largely a platform for the president to offer a screed-like rebuttal to Michael Wolff’s controversial book Fire & Fury.
Trump’s most recent cable-news interview was another Fox News phoner, this time with all three Fox & Friends hosts (Kilmeade, Earhardt, and Steve Doocy). This one was particularly notable for how Trump seemingly screamed into the phone for nearly 30 minutes about everything from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe to Stormy Daniels to “sleepy-eyes Chuck Todd.”
The Fox & Friends gang spent much of the interview in silence.