Trump began and ended his day at Fox on Thursday. And, as if those appeals to his base weren’t enough, he will also hold a “virtual rally” on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show on Friday afternoon.
In the morning, the president phoned Fox Business to have an incoherent conversation with journalist-turned-sycophantic Maria Bartiromo. At this point, he could also be a spokesperson for the Trump campaign. How wrote Philip Bump de The Washington PostShe, “has served as little more than an overblown woman, grooming Trump with softball questions and encouraging his responses. It was not the first time she had played such a role, but it was nonetheless remarkable to see the extent of her disinterest in posing any challenge to the president.
While speaking with Bartiromo, Trump ranted and praised his political enemies. He implored Attorney General Bill Barr to “prosecute these people for crimes,” specifically naming Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Hours later, after Trump’s interview with Bartiromo faded to some degree from memory, Jeffrey Toobin tweeted: «To be clear. [Trump] today he asked that [Obama] Y [Biden] are charged and prosecuted. Have they fallen so low our standards that this kind of undemocratic authoritarian behavior goes without criticism? Is this now normal?
A Trump with a cough insists he’s okay
Trump continued to go from topic to topic on Sean Hannity’s show, promoting conspiracy theories, peddling falsehoods and launching attacks on Democrats and the media during a conversation of about 25 minutes.
But it could be said that it was the president’s health that took center stage. During the interview, Hannity twice asked Trump if he had been tested for the coronavirus since he fell ill last week. It was a question that the president apparently couldn’t answer.
Instead, Trump said he “probably” will be examined on Friday. Medhi hasan joked on non-response: “Save the date, we’ve gotten to the point where even Sean Hannity is asking Trump simple questions the president can’t or won’t answer.”
It wasn’t just Trump’s comments about his health that drew attention. It was what the audience could hear at home. At least twice during the interview, Trump had to pause his prayers and clear his throat and cough audibly.
The president insisted that he was feeling fine, stating that he saw his doctors earlier that day and that they think he is in “very good shape.” But it sure didn’t sound like he was cured, like he claimed to be.
… And says he could hold a rally on Saturday
After Trump bragged about how good he felt and how he had been treated, he told Hannity, “I think I’ll try to do a rally on Saturday night. If we have enough time to put it together. But we want to have a rally in Florida probably Saturday night. I could go back and do one in Pennsylvania the next night.
His comment aligned with Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman’s reports from The New York Times, who wrote earlier that an “angry” Trump who was watching news coverage of the political race had “been imploring his aides to allow him to resume campaign rallies as early as this weekend.”
> Reminder: The president’s doctor has not held a press conference to inform the public about Trump’s health and allow reporters to ask questions since Monday. All while Trump, sick with the coronavirus, coughs during an interview on national television while suggesting he could hold a rally in days. This is an unacceptable level of transparency from the White House.
Trump con Rush Limbaugh
From a strategic standpoint, I’ve always found it strange that Trump hasn’t called up nationally syndicated right-wing radio shows more often. Yes, Fox News reaches a large part of its base. But Rush Limbaugh is a powerhouse.
Limbaugh, who has been off the air this week while undergoing treatments, said on Thursday that Friday will be “the largest virtual rally in radio history.”
> Brian Stelter adds: “I’d like to make a little prediction here. There has been a lot of talk about whether Trump would launch a television network if he loses the election. What if the speculation has been correct but is the medium wrong? How about ending next year with a high-profile radio show? ‘
Speaking of the influence of the right-wing media …
CNN’s Sandee LaMotte informs: “Viewers who trust Fox News coverage more than CNN’s are less likely to take preventive measures against the new coronavirus and slightly more likely to put themselves at risk, according to a new study published Thursday in the magazine BMJ Global Health«.
Also this week, a new report from Pew found that 90% of Republicans who only listened to Fox News or radio shows as major sources of political news said the country has controlled the outbreak as best it can.
Fox loyalists were also more likely to feel that the pandemic had been overblown: “In early September, among Republicans who only had Fox News and / or radio shows as their main news sources, 78% say it is ha made the coronavirus something bigger than it really is. ” Only a small number of Democrats made similar claims …
A fourth member of the White House press corps tests positive
Another member of the White House press corps tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, meaning four journalists have been infected from the outbreak that has engulfed the West Wing.
The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) emailed members to inform them that a journalist “received a preliminary positive result for COVID-19 today after undergoing a rapid test.”
The person is now awaiting the results of a PCR test and “is currently asymptomatic.” According to WHCA, the person was last in the White House on October 1, a full week ago.