The hosts of Donald Trump’s longtime favorite morning show are now practically begging the former president on Wednesday to attend the first Republican primary debate, telling him via their airwaves not to “take the voters for granted” and show up at the Fox News-hosted event.
Fox & Friends’ plea to the 2024 GOP frontrunner is just the latest stab in the conservative cable giant’s full-court press to convince Trump to attend— despite his continual threats to not take part—and hopefully deliver Fox News the huge viewership it so desires.
At the top of Wednesday’s broadcast, the curvy couch denizens immediately focused their attention on the upcoming debate, which is only two weeks away. In a seemingly naked attempt to curry Trump’s favor, the Fox & Friends crew took swipes at Mike Pence for his widely mocked campaign ad in which he pretends to fill up a pickup truck’s gas tank. (Pence, who is also running for president, has also drawn intense criticism from MAGA supporters in recent weeks for condemning Trump’s attempt to overthrow the 2020 election.)
They then turned their attention to Trump asking the audience of a New Hampshire campaign event whether or not he should show up at the debate on Aug. 23, receiving a rather mixed response from the MAGA crowd. In recent weeks, the thrice-indicted ex-president has repeatedly indicated he would skip the event due to his large polling lead among GOP primary voters, telling Breitbart last week that it would be “stupid” to attend.
“People want to see Trump debate. Number one, it’s extremely entertaining and good,” co-host Brian Kilmeade declared.
Kilmeade also bashed ex-Fox News anchor Chris Wallace (without naming him) over the job he did moderating the 2020 presidential debate between Trump and President Joe Biden, which Kilmeade felt Trump clearly won in retrospect.
“What I did recently was watched back the debate with Joe Biden where I thought he didn’t do well,” he said. “The more I realized he actually did well. Much better than you would think. But the moderator kept interrupting, number one, and number two is, Joe Biden just kept lying.”
Kilmeade claimed that it’s now been proven that Biden was “lying” about his knowledge of Hunter Biden’s business dealings, adding that “the stuff that Trump was scoring on he couldn’t score because the fact-checker wasn’t accurate” and “the moderator wasn’t clued in.”
After Kilmeade was done throwing his former colleague under the bus, Steve Doocy wondered if Trump was “having second doubts” about not showing up since he decided to start polling his supporters.
“I just don’t see Donald Trump sitting at home watching along with 40 or 50 million Americans when he sees Ron DeSantis in that center square,” Doocy added. “That would absolutely drive him crazy.”
Ainsley Earhardt, meanwhile, empathized with Trump over his anger “about everything that he feels this administration and the DOJ have put him through.” At the same time, though, she urged him not to punish Fox News viewers for his multiple indictments.
“But don’t take it out on Republicans, because Republicans want to see him up on stage,” she pleaded. “Don’t take the voters for granted. Yes, he is ahead by a lot, but to see him up on the stage would just be wonderful. We want to see how they interact. We want to hear their policies.”
Later in the morning, debate co-moderator Martha MacCallum appeared on America’s Newsroom to once again do the hard sell to Trump—this time by playing to his ego.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to speak to the American people and a platform where the former president can look directly at some people on that stage who he has contention with and have a moment to set the record straight,” she stated. Additionally, anchor Bill Hemmer appealed to Trump’s media obsession by declaring the debate’s ratings “will be huge.”
Fox News hosts and commentators have picked up the pace in recent days in terms of trying to convince Trump to attend, growing increasingly desperate as the event approaches. Furthermore, just as he learned he would be indicted for a third time, Trump privately met with Fox’s top brass at his New Jersey golf club as they lobbied him to participate in the debate.
Trump, while telling advisers he still hasn’t closed the door on attending, has continued to take shots at the network, calling it “fake news” while trashing debate co-moderator Bret Baier following a contentious June interview with the veteran newsman. He’s also considered directly competing with Fox’s broadcast by sitting for a livestreamed interview with fired Fox News star Tucker Carlson.
On top of that, Fox’s right-wing media competitors and Trump’s MAGA acolytes have urged Trump to stick to his guns and skip the debate, claiming that Fox owner Rupert Murdoch rubs a “globalist network” and is “determined to defeat” Trump. Newsmax, which has seen its ratings surge since Carlson’s ouster, has also shamelessly pushed for Trump to do instead a competing town hall that would be aired on the wannabe Fox rival.