Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner received a sharp rebuke on Wednesday when she posed a question to a Democratic pundit based off President Donald Trump’s baseless claim that his rivals want the economy to stay closed through the 2020 election in order to defeat him, prompting her to snap back that she was “just asking questions.”
During a recent interview with pro-Trump Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, the president was asked if he thinks his political opponents are rooting for pandemic-related shutdowns to remain in effect through November.
“Yeah, I do. I do. I think it’s a political thing,” Trump declared, adding: “If it’s up to some people, let’s keep it closed for a long time. And watch the United States go down the tubes.”
While moderating a “power panel” on Thursday afternoon, Faulkner brought up Trump’s claim to Jon Summers, former communications director for ex-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
“Jon, is it political to you?” Faulkner asked. “I mean, the president says critics want to keep the economy closed until the election. It’s a political thing.”
Summers turned the question—which echoed a sentiment expressed not just by the president, but by Fox’s own primetime stars—right back around on Faulkner.
“I don’t know, Harris,” he snarked. “What do you think? Do you think it’s real?”
“Do you think there’s a big Democratic ‘deep state’ that is going in and trying to shut down the entire economy and make everyone suffer just to win an election?” Summers continued. “Do you think there is actual truth to that?”
Faulkner, a bit flustered, immediately responded: “I’m just asking the questions as the journalist and a host of the show. I want to know what you think.”
The Democratic operative further chided Faulkner, telling her that “as a journalist” her questions must take into account real facts, and he’s sure she hasn’t “seen any data to show that such a thing exists.” He also added that the vast majority of states have already started to reopen portions of their businesses and public spaces.
“My state where I live, in Maryland, starts reopening tomorrow,” Summers noted. “Our Republican governor has been one of the strictest of the country, and he is beginning his reopening.”
Faulkner, meanwhile, replied that Maryland’s not as strict as California, which may be subjected to some lockdowns until late summer.
“Well, you know, California is going to figure out what California is going to do,” Summers replied. “But you can be critical of what California is doing. Harris, that does not point to any sort of effort to win an election by hurting the American people. It’s preposterous.”
He concluded: “Frankly, I think it’s embarrassing that we’re even talking about it on this network right now, ’cause all this is doing is helping to perpetuate something we all know isn’t true.”