The Fox & Friends morning crew was fired up Friday morning, ditching their usual white sofa for a red-backed war room set to discuss President Trump’s last-minute abandoning of airstrikes against Iran overnight.
Hosts Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt were at odds about what the news meant. An unusually dovish Earhardt insisted Trump “knows more than we do” and that “something’s happening behind the scenes, there’s a reason he hunkered down.”
Kilmeade instead seemed to goad the president, implying that his hesitance to attack Iran was a weakness. At times almost sounding like he was directly addressing the president, who is known to be a fan of the show, Kilmeade insisted that “North Korea’s watching. Turkey’s watching. Russia’s watching. China...”
They then brought on a retired general who insisted that Trump was playing checkers with Iran when he should be playing chess. Earhardt repeated the Trump mantra that sanctions on Iran were working and tried to assure the audience that the president surely has a strategy.
Kilmeade, clearly worked up, all but yelled at his co-host. “No! The sanctions have been in place before. This is Iran’s response to the sanctions,” he said. “Where is America’s response to Iran’s belligerence?”
“They blow up four tankers and we do nothing. When they blow up our drone that costs $130 million and we do nothing. We know it’s not going to end there. So at some point, in the Middle East, no action looks like weakness, and weakness begets more attacks.”
Earhardt shot back, “Just because he called it off last night doesn’t mean he’s not going to do something.”
Kilmeade retorted, “It’s been seven weeks!”
Steve Doocey then took on the role as the adult on the set, trying to calm down his co-hosts and, again seeming clear that he knew the president might be watching, reinforced Trump’s decision to avert what might well have been the start of a war.
After John Bolton’s former chief of staff Fred Fleitz then came on and applauded the president’s attempts at de-escalation, Kilmeade got back on the warpath, quite literally.
“I think by not doing something, he is doing something,” Kilmeade said. “There are consequences for nonaction and there are consequences for action. In the Middle East, nonaction is looked upon in many cases as weakness.”
Doocey then disagreed, arguing that Trump did act by ordering the strike. “The planes were in the air,” he said. “The ships were in position.” He went on to channel the president, assuming his reasoning was to dial down tension and to send the message, “Listen, I’ve got the stuff right here. We can go and blow you up immediately.”
Kilmeade, clearly against diplomacy with Iran, again let out a battle cry. “Why would we talk to them?” he asked. “Blowing up tankers of our allies, then they blow up our drone, and then we’ll talk to them? Makes us look so weak!”
Trump eventually chimed in, tweeting his reasoning in a series of Twitter posts. “On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”