Here’s 9 times Fox News hosts went stunningly off script and ripped Trump a new one in 2018
For roughly 23 hours and 45 minutes a day, Fox News praises President Donald Trump.
The conservative network’s sycophantic coverage of the Republican president is so widespread and predictable that it’s been said Trump couldn’t have existed without it.
But there are times when the facade cracks, and when one or more host publicly turns on Trump, if only for a few minutes.
Here are nine notable times from 2018.
1. Geraldo Rivera can’t hold back after Trump uses tear gas against children on the border.
Host Geraldo Rivera usually sticks to the company line on Trump—Rivera even stood up for the president after the disastrous Helsinki summit and cited the almost universally outraged response as an example of “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”
But when the Trump administration deployed tear gas at mothers and children seeking to cross the border for asylum, Rivera cracked.
“The gassing of [the] migrant caravan made me nauseous,” Rivera said. “Those images may play with the base, but they will also be a scar on our nation’s reputation.”
Rivera was roasted by angry Fox News fans over his comments.
2. Tucker Carlson slams Trump for trying to craft an immigration compromise
For most of the year, host host Tucker Carlson has been a loyal defender of Trumpism, even seeding ideas to the president. Carlson famously made up a controversy involving whites in South Africa being brutalized, riling up his viewership. Carlson was reportedly “stunned” people took him seriously and had to walk it back after the president himself threatened to intervene.
But back in January 2018 Carlson bashed Trump for meeting with “the very swamp creatures he once denounced” to discuss immigration.
Carlson said the entire Trump presidency was pointless if Trump compromised on issues like immigration.
“He told them he trusted them to craft immigration policy without his input. Then he suggested he’d be willing to accept any deal they produced, even a bad one,” Carlson said. “So what was the point of running for president?”
3. Jesse Watters hammers Trump’s spelling and grammar.
Fox News host Jesse Watters is the ultimate Trump loyalist—he’s defended the president to the point that his own mother is ashamed of him.
But there is one bridge too far: Trump’s lack of English fluency.
Even as the rest of the panel of Fox News’ The Five attacked Trump’s critics for the “stupid” “distraction” of trying to “cheapen” the president after he sent an error-filled letter to a teacher who asked him to take school safety more seriously.
“I’ve defended this president on a lot of stuff, as we all know, but I can’t defend him on that. It drives me crazy.”
Watters said he believes Trump “has a great brain and he went to the best schools” but that it does not come across on Twitter.
“I read these tweets, and it’s just gobbledygook,” said Watters. “Apparently, The New York Times said he does misspellings on purpose so he is like, one of the folks. I don’t know if I buy that. But it drives me nuts. I would say clean it up and that would be my advice. Make it work.”
4. Pretty much everyone at Fox bashes Trump’s failure to fund his border wall.
In April, Trump signed a spending bill that didn’t include funding for his promised border wall (which, longtime Trump watchers may remember, Mexico was supposed to pay for).
In the aftermath Trump was bashed by everyone on the network, from Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth to primetime hosts Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson.
“Mexico’s not going to pay for the wall and neither are we,” said a dejected Jesse Watters.
Trump reportedly “freaked out” about the bashing, complaining loudly about the bill to anyone who would listen and calling the Fox News criticism unfair.
Trump has been watching Fox, which had Coulter on Jeanine Pirro slamming Trump over the wall funding. That type of thing – as well as his conviction it includes Planned Parenthood funding – are animating him.# p #29_60 # ad skipped = true #
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 27, 2018# p #30_60 # ad skipped = true #
5. Brian Kilmeade rakes Trump over the coals for “ridiculous” and “insulting” claims about Russia
Fox & Friends is reportedly one of Trump’s favorite TV shows and co-host Brian Kilmeade is one of his staunchest defenders.
But in July, when Trump lamented the state of relations with Russia in a series of tweets, Kilmeade went off.
“That’s by far the most ridiculous tweet of late, and that is insulting to past administrations,” Kilmeade said. “He can’t be saying that going into the Russian summit.”
# p #37_60 # ad skipped = true #
— Rob Tornoe (@RobTornoe) July 16, 2018# p #38_60 # ad skipped = true #
6. Neil Cavuto lectures Trump on his “swamp” for four whole minutes.
In May, the network’s longest tenured employee, Neil Cavuto, spent a full four minutes cataloging Trump’s lies in world-weary lecture.
“I guess you’re too busy ‘draining the swamp’ to notice the stink you’re creating,” Cavuto said. “Mr. President, that’s your stink.”
Watch Cavuto’s rant here:
7. Shep Smith demolished Trumpers who dismissed Michael Cohen’s pay-out of hush-money as a meaningless “sex scandal.”
In August, host Shep Smith issued a stern rebuke of Trump’s defenders, including many of his own network’s other hosts and viewers, regarding the bust of Trump’s longtime fixer Michael Cohen.
At the time, a popular line among the GOP was that the payouts were part of a “sex scandal” and not a serious matter.
Smith blew that up.
“The issue here is: did the president in an effort to sway the results of the 2016 election commit a federal crime when he gave hush money or directed the hush money be given to women that were accusing him of things and might hurt him in the eyes of the public before they went to vote,” he said. “This is not about sex, this is about trying to influence the vote. That could be serious.”
Smith gets a lot of blowback for his criticism of Trump, with the network’s fans freaking out and demanding he be fired.
8. Shep Smith erupted over Trump’s nonsensical attacks on Facebook and Google.
Later in August, Trump launched an attack on Google and Facebook—explaining why is difficult, because the president’s reasoning made no sense.
Smith pointed exactly that out on air.
“What is he talking about? ‘Treading on troubled territory.’ ‘You can’t do that.’ Do what to people?” Smith asked viewers. “It seems to be the news itself, because around there it’s not good. The fake news tends to be pretty good to him, the real news tends to be pretty unpleasant,” Smith said.
Watch Smith’s rant below.
9. Laura Ingraham trashes Trump for mocking a top Democrat’s name.
Arch-Trumper Laura Ingraham defends Trump reflexively, even to the point of brutally attacking any prominent person who criticizes him at the expense of alienating her own family.
But, by late November, even Ingraham had enough of the president’s vulgarity after Trump insulted Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Twitter.
“So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
“We all love a tough, strong president. But you don’t have to ridicule Adam Schiff’s name. There’s plenty about Adam Schiff you can take issue with substantively,” Ms. Ingraham said. “That’s just an unforced error. There’s no reason you have to do that.”