Fox News Calls Sean Hannity’s Trump Appearance an ‘Unfortunate Distraction’

Leroy Wright
November 7, 2018

Fox News Channel insisted Sean Hannity would not be part of President Donald Trump's last midterm election rally Monday - but Trump called on Hannity to join him onstage anyway.

Fox News, with its conservative-leaning talk shows, some of which are unabashedly pro-Trump like Hannity's, has long had a unique relationship with the Trump administration.

"To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the president", he wrote.

It was an extraordinary scene after the news network had worked Monday to establish distance between Hannity and the campaign. "This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed", a Fox spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

Hannity appeared on the podium with the president and delivered brief remarks.

Earlier yesterday, Hannity tweeted, "To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the President". "This was NOT planned".

White House reporter Maggie Haberman of The New York Times tweeted: "Still can't get over Hannity denying he would be on stage the whole day, getting brought up by Trump, and then pointing to actual news reporters and calling them fake". He was speaking before a frantic final day of campaigning that included rallies in Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri, where he was introduced by radio personality Rush Limbaugh.

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The alleged hacking attempt occurred Saturday evening, according to the Secretary of State's Office. On Sunday, Trump flew Air Force One to a middle Georgia airfield and called him "a great leader".

That seemed to be a good enough explanation for his employers over at Fox News, who issued a statement on the matter Tuesday afternoon.

Hannity, who told the audience at Trump's rally that "all these people in the back are fake news", also tweeted today that he was not referring to any of his Fox News colleagues.

He said later on Twitter he was not referring to Fox News journalists, maintaining that "they do awesome work day in and day out in a fair and balanced way". Trump told Hannity he had seen the beginning of his show.

The election served as a referendum of sorts on Trump's racially charged appeals and the strength of the coalition that powered him to the White House - a group he will need again in just two years.

"The smart Republican candidates are the ones who have fully embraced [him], stood by his side", she added.

Hannity has done that in the past, interviewing Trump at the site of rallies, sometimes with the crowd listening in.

"But it's closing with elite pundits [like Nate Silver] now hedging on whether Democrats will even take the House as Republicans are poised to perhaps increase their majority in the Senate".

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