Fox News anchor Bret Baier "was ready to give into" pressure from Donald Trump after the network called Arizona for Joe Biden after the 2020 election, according to a new book.
Baier emailed Jay Wallace, the president and executive editor at Fox News, to rescind the Decision Desk's call for the key swing state, saying the Trump campaign was "really pissed," according to the new book "The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021" published by Insider.
"'This situation is getting uncomfortable," he wrote to Wallace, according to authors Peter Baker and Susan Glasser. "Really uncomfortable. I keep having to defend this on air.'"
The network's Decision Desk had no doubts about Biden's win in Arizona, but Baier accused them of "holding on for pride."
"'It's hurting us,'" he wrote, according to the book. "'The sooner we pull it — even if it gives us major egg — and we put it back in his column the better we are in my opinion.'"
Baker and Glasser described Baier's statements "stunning," because he was "the leading news anchor for Fox [and] was pushing not just to say Arizona was too close to call but to pretend that the president had won it."
Biden won Arizona by less than a percentage point but was never in Trump's column, but the former president publicly attacked state officials, and Wallace resisted Baier's pleas but did refuse to allow Fox News to call Nevada for Biden and be the first network to essentially declare him the president-elect.
"FOX News made an election night call of historic magnitude and was first to do so," a network spokesperson said in a statement to Insider. "We stood by the call in the days that followed, it was proven correct, and other news organizations eventually joined us."
Baier issued his own statement hours later, saying the full context of the email was not reported in the book.
“I never said the Trump campaign ‘was really pissed’ – that was from an external email that I referenced within my note," Baier said. "This was an email sent AFTER election night. In the immediate days following the election, the vote margins in Arizona narrowed significantly and I communicated these changes to our team along with what people on the ground were saying and predicting district by district. I wanted to analyze at what point (what vote margin) would we have to consider pulling the call for Biden. I also noted that I fully supported our decision desk’s call and would defend it on air.”