Michael Steele isn't ready to forgive Fox News for what they did to the Republican Party he once helped lead.
The former chairman of the Republican National Committee appeared Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where the hosts applauded Fox News reporter Kristen Fisher for fact-checking Rudy Giuliani's wild claims at a bizarre news conference.
"There also is the messaging, the broader messaging that goes out to the points that were being made earlier on the program about where you stand in history and where do you want to find yourself as, you know, hopefully as a governing majority one day again in the future," Steele said. "With each passing day of this, that becomes harder and harder for republicans to contemplate, and why?"
"Because Americans won't forget this moment," he added. "They just won't, you know? Yeah, you can count on your 73 million, but you've got 78, 80 million people out there, plus countless others who don't stand with you on this, and you have to account for them at some point."
Steele said that simple math explains why Fox News has shied away from pushing President Donald Trump's election fraud claims.
"I'm not necessarily as forgiving on the Fox thing right this moment," he said. "Fox is making a -- you're right, they're playing the long game. The story on the streets, no big secret now, Trump is looking to create competition for them. He's looking to create an empire of his own to challenge them. It's what he wanted to do before he became president by accident."
"So the reality for Fox is now that Trump is calling out their viewers to follow him to OAN or to Newsmax or some other network as a staging to moving them to Trump TV or whatever that platform is," Steele added, "they're now trying to figure out how -- okay, we're going to have to try to fill that gap with some center-right folks or others and as this try to rebuild and to rebrand. I don't think there's so much giving up on Trump, but recognizing he's going to be taking a big part of their audience with him, and that, again, speaks to just as it does in politics the calculation that these entities are making around Trump, which I think to their long-term detriment."