But oh, did their producers ever book the wrong guest.
The show began the segment by playing video from last week’s Democratic primary debate for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, in which candidate Ann Kirkpatrick was booed for being the sole participant to offer unqualified support for U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE).
Fox host Jillian Mele then wound up for some slow-pitch softball: “And joining us now, that candidate. The only Democrat on stage to support ICE. Ann Kirkpatrick, thank you for joining us, we appreciate it. Tell us why you do support ICE.”
“Good morning. I’m actually here to speak directly to Donald Trump,” the woman began, appearing via satellite. “I feel that what’s happening at the border is wrong. I’m a mother of four and I believe that separating kids from their parents is illegal and inhumane.”
And without pausing, she revealed herself: “I’m actually Barbara L’Italien. I’m a state senator representing a large immigrant community. I’m running for Congress in Massachusetts. I keep thinking about what we’re putting parents through and imagining how terrifying that must be for those families, imagining how it would feel not knowing if I’d ever see my kids again. We have to stop abducting children and ripping them from their parents’ arms, and stop putting kids in cages, and stop making 3-year-olds defend themselves in court.”
Co-host Rob Schmitt, realizing the planned message had been hijacked, attempted to interrupt L’Italien, telling her: “That practice has stopped at this point, Ms. Kirkpatrick, right?”
“Again, my name is Barbara L’Italien,” she explained before continuing to rail against Trump policy, while a confused Schmitt asked his co-host: “Who is this?” (It’s Barbara L’Italien; she only said it twice in a minute.)
“All right, let’s move on,” Mele said after control-room operators cut L’Italien off.
“That didn’t go as planned,” Schmitt observed.
“That’s what happens sometimes,” Mele concluded.
While initially unclear how L’Italien ended up on Fox & Friends in place of a woman running for Congress 2,500 miles away, the show claimed in a statement that they’d been duped.
“This morning we invited Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick to appear on Fox & Friends First through her press contact on file Joe Katz, who accepted the invitation on Kirkpatrick’s behalf,” the show’s executive producer Desiree Dunne wrote. “Katz followed with an email confirming the segment, which also included background information and a campaign logo for Ann Kirkpatrick. During the actual segment, Barbara L’Italien, appeared on camera instead of Kirkpatrick. Despite speaking to producers prior to the interview, L’Italien did not identify herself as anything other than Kirkpatrick until she was live on air, at which point we ended the interview.”