Fox News’s ongoing conflict with Donald Trump has become an all-out war. In the past, that drama never stopped the Republican frontrunner’s biggest fans inside Fox News from cheering him on. But now that the scuffle has gotten deeply personal, those fanboys and girls find themselves in a difficult position.
Just days before tension boiled over into sexist insults about Megyn Kelly, sarcastic swipes at Trump, and an eventual debate boycott, the reality TV star’s Fox boosters like Eric Bolling, Andrea Tantaros, Jesse Watters, and Jeanine Pirro took to the airwaves to lambast National Review for its “Against Trump” manifesto.
Bolling, co-host of The Five and self-described long-time “friend of Trump family,” has been the network’s most prominent supporter of the businessman’s quest for the presidency—so much so that his co-host Greg Gutfeld has repeatedly called him an “apologist” on-air and accused him of “Trumpsplaining” away every egregious remark the candidate makes.
When National Review published its anti-Trump essays, Bolling predictably defended his man from conservative attacks he believes could only “fuel” the Democrats in an inevitable general election face-off against the short-fingered vulgarian.
Days later, when Trump announced his boycott of the Fox News debate, Bolling faced a crisis of loyalties: betray his employer or betray his candidate. Ultimately, he avoided either devastating option by groveling to Trump: “You’re a dealmaker,” he said. “Make a deal.”
Jeanine Pirro, too, has long cheered on Trump’s campaign, even at some of his lowest moments.
“The National Review needs to get in line with the rest of the Republicans,” raged Pirro, a former New York district attorney turned xenophobic firebrand. “How dare they trash the frontrunner Donald Trump!”
“Trump is worried about our safety and is standing up for Americans of all religions,” she said of his proposal to ban all Muslim immigration to the United States. “Go Donald Go!” Pirro cheered when the real-estate mogul infamously kicked Latino journalist Jorge Ramos out of a campaign event.
Now that Trump has skipped her network’s debate and called her colleague a “bimbo,” Pirro has gone silent.
Tantaros, a co-host of daytime gabfest Outnumbered and one of the network’s most talented provocateurs, has also taken on the mantle of defending strong-man Trump from weak-kneed liberals and capitulator conservatives. While conceding Trump isn’t actually “conservative,” Tantaros has lauded the magnate as the antidote to a populace “feminized” and “emasculated” by liberal policies.
In response to National Review’s onslaught, Tantaros clapped back with a line often trotted out by Trump’s rabid supporters: “I respect @NRO but they should’ve blasted the SOURCE of conservatism crumbling which lead to Trump’s rise: THE FAILED, ELITE ESTABLISHMENT.”
But on the subject of Trump’s temper tantrum against Fox, Tantaros has stayed decidedly neutral, only discussing the story from a position of relaying news.
Fox’s resident fratboy correspondent Watters, too, has spent the 2016 election season defending Trump’s most controversial moves.
When Trump called for the rounding up of all undocumented immigrants, Watters squeed, adding that maybe President Donald could send them down to build a massive border wall in exchange for amnesty. Watters later slammed National Review as “putting pure conservatism over the country” and echoed his dear leader’s braggadocio by boasting about “Teflon” Trump’s ability to fill 40,000-seat stadiums. He mocked fiscal conservatives for worrying about the candidate’s positions on economic issues like eminent domain abuse.
During a Wednesday discussion on Trump’s boycott and anti-Kelly comments, Watters gave a unsurprisingly wishy-washy monologue, refusing to badmouth The Donald.
“Don’t put a happy face on this,” his co-host Juan Williams justifiably responded.