Fox News hosts Melissa Francis and Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery suggested on Wednesday that former Vice President Joe Biden was fed questions and read his answers off a teleprompter during a recent news conference, echoing President Donald Trump’s bogus accusations.
Following the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s Tuesday afternoon press conference, which concluded with a Fox News reporter asking Biden about his supposed cognitive decline, the president took to Twitter to claim Biden “knew the questions and still couldn’t answer them.”
In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump took his conspiracy theory even further, outright accusing the ex-veep of reading “the answers from a teleprompter,” adding that Biden “was given the questions” ahead of time “just like Crooked Hillary.”
During Wednesday’s broadcast of talk show Outnumbered, host Melissa Francis immediately latched onto both of the president’s talking points while analyzing Biden’s performance.
“If you were watching yesterday, he said that ‘he wants to stop appealing to the ahh—,’ then he sort of paused for a very long period of time and was trying to figure out he was going to finish that sentence. Then he said, ‘the less healthy side of society,’” she noted. “He also said, ‘Who was I supposed to call on next?’”
She went on to say that she “forced herself” to watch the presser because they are normally “so boring,” saying that it was “amazing” since Biden’s eyes “were kind of empty” as he wondered aloud which reporter he was supposed to call on next.
“Did he have the questions ahead of time and had an order of people?” Francis continued, driving home her point by insisting there were no questions asked about Michael Flynn, Seattle’s “CHOP” zone, or “defunding the police.”
Kennedy, meanwhile, piggybacked on Francis’ comments, saying, “it didn’t seem to be the case” that the press was going to be “tough as nails” with Biden before pointing to the presence of a teleprompter at the presser.
“Why did he have a teleprompter at a news conference?” exclaimed Kennedy, who last year kicked off Fox’s public speculation about Biden’s failing mental health. “Was he getting notes the whole time?”
Prior to Biden taking questions from reporters, the presidential candidate delivered a prepared speech on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s response to it, explaining the teleprompter’s presence. Furthermore, as Politico reported, video evidence showed that the teleprompters didn’t appear to be running during his question-and-answer session with reporters.
Several reporters also confirmed to The Daily Beast on Tuesday night that the campaign did not pre-screen any of their questions. A Biden adviser also called the claim “laughable.” In addition to a Fox reporter pressing him on his mental acuity, Biden was also asked multiple times about the ongoing cultural battle over statues and monuments honoring historic figures with racist or slave-owning pasts.
And while Kennedy and Francis pushed the narrative that Biden received his questions in advance, Fox’s resident media critic Howard Kurtz knocked down that exact claim on Twitter.
“Sorry to disappoint you, but I’ve seen every president go through a list of reporters selected to call on,” he wrote, in response to one user who accused Biden of getting pre-planned questions. “That doesn't mean Biden had any idea what they were going to ask, although some of the questions were predictable.”