When Fox News isn’t running cover for President Donald Trump in the wake of his disastrous comments to Rage author Bob Woodward, they are—at least in this instance—attempting to give their viewers the facts.
On Thursday’s edition of Special Report, Fox anchor Bret Baier interviewed both Biden national press secretary TJ Ducklo and Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh about Trump’s intentional efforts to downplay the severity of the coronavirus pandemic back in February and March.
Murtaugh began his defense of Trump by attacking his counterpart on the Biden campaign for failing to articulate what exactly Biden would have done differently if he had been president. “We know without question that President Trump’s move to restrict travel from China saved thousands of American lives,” Murtaugh told Baier. “Dr. Fauci says so, all medical experts say so and we know that Joe Biden would not have done that.”
But as Murtaugh went on to claim that Trump was saying the “same things” publicly that he was telling Woodward, Baier stopped him in his tracks.
“That’s not true, Tim” the anchor said, interrupting his guest. “It’s not true. When he was saying publicly that the virus would go from 15 to zero and then it was magically going to wash away, that is not the same thing he’s telling Bob Woodward, that it’s a deadly virus that travels over the air and it’s really serious and ‘I like to downplay it.’ He was not saying the same things publicly that he was privately to Bob Woodward.”
“It was public knowledge at the time,” Murtaugh replied. “It was discussed in coronavirus briefings. Everyone knew that it was transmitted through things like coughing and sneezing.”
Interrupting his guest again, Baier added, “But what you just said was that what he was saying privately and publicly was the same. It’s not.”
And yet Murtaugh still insisted that President Trump “was being straight with the American people,” adding, “There is no question of that.”
Baier was one of the few Fox News hosts willing to dispute that assertion on the air.