Fox News anchor Chris Wallace repeatedly pushed back when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the presidential election, telling Azar on Sunday morning that Biden’s current title is “president-elect.”
During a contentious interview on Fox News Sunday, Wallace grilled Azar on the Trump administration’s response to the surging coronavirus crisis, noting that hospitalizations, deaths, and cases are all hitting record numbers.
While also pointing out that there is optimistic news with vaccine distribution scheduled to begin in a few weeks, Wallace wanted to know if the uncontrolled spread of the virus is “the result of a massive failure by President Trump and his administration.”
With the tone of the conversation set, and Azar attempting to defend his boss’ handling of the disease which has now killed roughly 280,000 Americans, Wallace then contrasted Biden’s public encouragement of mask-wearing to Trump’s public flouting of the practice early on.
“If President Trump had worn a mask then and urged everyone to wear a mask then, back in April, the way Joe Biden is right now, wouldn’t we be in much better shape?” Wallace wondered aloud.
“Chris, I welcome Vice President Biden to the club. Since the middle of April, the president’s guidelines for reopening —,” Azar responded before Wallace interjected.
“He’s the president-elect, sir. He’s the president-elect,” the Fox News Sunday moderator declared.
After Azar, meanwhile, brought up the one moment months ago where the president called wearing face masks “patriotic” as proof that Trump has publicly encouraged mask-wearing, prompting Wallace to push back while again correcting Azar on Biden.
“First of all, it’s the President-Elect Joe Biden, Secretary Azar, and secondly, the fact is the president said on the first day, April 3, that he wasn’t going to wear a mask,” Wallace stated. “He didn’t wear a mask in public for three months until July.”
“And just last night at that rally in Georgia, not only didn’t he wear a mask, but I was watching the rally,” he added. “Thousands of people packed together, none I could see wearing a mask. That is a direct violation of what the CDC and you are recommending.”
The president and his allies have outright refused to accept President-elect Joe Biden’s decisive election victory last month by peddling baseless conspiracies of widespread voter fraud, while Trump attempts to subvert democracy via long-shot lawsuits and appeals to state legislatures to discard millions of votes.
Fox News, meanwhile, has drawn the ire from Trump and MAGA fans over the conservative channel’s Election Night projection that Biden won Arizona and joining other networks say later in calling the national election for Biden.
While Fox’s news division journalists have since referred to Biden as president-elect on-air, many of the network’s Trump-boosting hosts have continued to fan the flames of election denialism and given hope to Fox viewers that Trump will still be president on Jan. 21.