At first, it was whispers, discussions in hushed tones in small groups hinting that a growing number of his voters were skeptical at best about his chances of returning to the White House after the disastrous end to his first term. But Liberty Nation has learned that one prominent conservative organization is hearing a common theme articulated by some 90% of its major donors: While they are grateful to Donald Trump for his accomplishments in the Oval Office, they most decidedly do not want him to make a third run at the brass ring, fearing he would lose again.
And that growing wariness of another Trump run may now have penetrated the former president’s most critical point of exposure – since his Twitter account is defunct. Indeed, if there was one thing Donald Trump could count on from the moment he descended that famous escalator at Trump Tower more than seven years ago, it was that Fox News would serve as a sympathetic platform, an island of relatively glowing coverage in an ocean of leftist enmity. And while the likes of CNN lamented the massive, albeit negative, exposure it showered upon the bombastic billionaire, Fox wore it as a badge of honor. But that was then, and this is now. And as the January 6 show trial carries on in the heart of the Swamp, inflicting a not-so-slow drip of damage to the former president, the cable news channel is sending out a variety of signals that Trump’s in-house stock has dropped, perhaps precipitously.
Indeed, while primetime hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham mostly carry on in support of the Donald – despite a reported fallout between Trump and Hannity after the 2020 election – the same cannot be said of the daytime lineup, which has sprung leaks in the pro-Trump boat in recent days. Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade, long a Trump friend and defender, has ramped up his criticism, summarizing it with “I think how you lose in life defines who you are.” Piers Morgan, an unlikely ally of Trump over the years, discussed how it’s time for the GOP to dump Trump in favor of Ron DeSantis, and later compared the Florida governor to Barack Obama in 2008. And the relatively mild-mannered anchor Martha MacCallum recently referred to a “stunning lack of evidence” for Trump’s claims of election fraud.
But what may have turned the most heads was Special Report anchor Bret Baier hitching himself to the bandwagon of Cassidy Hutchinson, before the clock struck midnight and her chariot turned into a pumpkin when her testimony before the January 6 hearings turned out to be full of holes: “I’ve covered politics a long time … I don’t think there has been testimony like this — that is kind of jaw-dropping … since Watergate … this testimony is stunning.” Fox News Contributor Andrew McCarthy has also been on the attack over January 6, recently questioning Trump’s “fitness for office” and calling the now-discredited Hutchinson testimony “devastating” to the 45th president.
Perhaps empowered by the permission concept – Fox’s willingness to criticize Trump – no less than Trump’s former Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney went on CBS Thursday and, after denying for months that the 45th president incited a riot, stated that he has changed his mind, adding, “Oh, count me among the Republicans who hope he’s not the nominee at this point.”
Any one of these examples by itself might not prove much, but put together they form a pattern of diminishing returns for the 45th president on his most sympathetic platform – and among his most vociferous defenders. The only question now is whether this turn of events is happening organically or based on an edict from on high.
And there are indeed reasons beyond the obvious for Trump’s diminished standing among the decision-makers at Fox Corporation. They may be entering a protective mode after Dominion Voting Systems, accused publicly by the Trump campaign of rigging its voting machines during the 2020 election, named the cable channel – along with its much smaller competitors Newsmax and One America News – as subjects in their $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. And last week, a judge ruled that Fox would be subject to discovery in the massive litigation. Plus, among the videos displayed by Democrats on the January 6 committee was an interview on Fox with Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, who is also being sued by Dominion, after she alleged massive election fraud but failed to provide sufficient proof in dozens of election-related lawsuits dismissed by the courts. Incredibly, despite scandalous public claims of fraud, Powell’s lawyers have argued that “no reasonable person would conclude” that those were “truly statements of fact.”
As Fox News and conservatives across the nation begin to question the electability of the 45th president, they are increasingly pining for the man who represents Trumpism minus Trump: Ron DeSantis, who is quickly sucking the oxygen out of the room, running far ahead of all other potential candidates like Tim Scott, Ted Cruz, Mike Pence, and Nikki Haley. If the former president does in fact lose Fox, who will be there to argue his case against DeSantis – and replace the news channel’s outsized value to the Trump brand?
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