Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera apparently didn’t get the memo on Wednesday night that guests on Sean Hannity’s show weren’t supposed to praise Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ debate performance.
While the other cable news networks criticized a “limp and lame” Vice President Mike Pence for repeatedly interrupting Harris during the debate, Hannity—a close confidant and adviser to President Donald Trump—and his other pro-Trump guests predictably gushed over the veep’s performance.
After saying Harris was “caught lying red-handed” about big issues such as race relations and court-packing, Hannity turned to frequent guest Leo Terrell—a one-time liberal pundit turned full-on Trump booster who has recently christened himself “Leo 2.0” to acknowledge the public shift.
“Harris was lying so much she needed a seat belt, she was squirming around, moving around, because she was lying,” a manic Terrell exclaimed. “She was just squirming around. She even played the race card on the Supreme Court-packing.”
After Terrell finished his tirade against the California senator, Hannity turned to Rivera, telling his Fox News colleague that Harris had lied about several issues throughout the evening.
“I think you’re burying the lede, though, Sean,” Rivera, a close friend of Trump’s, said. “The only real mistake Kamala Harris made tonight was over-smirking, over-smiling. She had to sell herself to the American people as not a scary lady, that she would be a competent, believable, credible vice president. I think she passed that threshold.”
“I think that the vice president’s only sin tonight was over-talking,” he continued. “You know, people, I think—people get annoyed when the moderator says stop, stop, stop, three or four times. In terms of the specific issue, I think it’s all about the impression. I think this was a tie.”
Both Terrell and Hannity immediately exploded, though Rivera offered up only mild compliments about Harris’ performance and noted that Pence also scored some points.
“What debate did he watch?!” Terrell erupted, calling for fellow panelist and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to “straighten him out.”
“I love Geraldo, but he’s got to get to an ophthalmologist tomorrow as quickly as he can. He absolutely did not see the debate that Leo and I and the rest of America saw,” Huckabee quipped, causing Terrell to applaud loudly.
Hannity repeated his guests’ assessment of Rivera’s analysis, also noting that while he “loves” Rivera, the Fox News correspondent “missed the whole thing here.”
The three-on-one assault of Rivera continued for a few more minutes, culminating in Terrell yelling “bravo” over and over after Huckabee accused Harris of not caring about the two California police officers who were recently shot in an ambush.
At the conclusion of the off-the-rails segment, Hannity insisted Pence “overwhelmingly won” the debate by pointing to two unscientific online opt-in polls, a tactic he used following last week’s presidential debate to falsely declare Trump the victor.
CNN’s scientific flash poll, however, found that on Wednesday night that the vast majority of respondents felt Harris was the winner.