KINDRED SPIRITS

Lou Dobbs: The O.G. Cable News Xenophobe Who Loves Donald Trump

The rabidly populist ghost from cable news past finds new life in boosting his own ideological progeny: Donald Trump.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has made a campaign out of exploiting working-class angst against immigrants and Muslims. So it should come as no surprise that Lou Dobbs is among his biggest fans.

For those who’ve forgotten about Dobbs, in his heyday he hosted a nativism-heavy talk show on CNN, rising to infamy by becoming cable news’ most prominent immigrant-basher. He also had the distinct honor of being the first TV host to give airtime on multiple occasions to birther conspiracies about President Obama. CNN kicked him to the curb in 2009, and he eventually landed a prime-time hosting gig at the Fox Business Network.

Half a decade later, Dobbs seems to have found renewed purpose in his cable news career: dutifully carrying water for Trump’s presidential campaign.

Dobbs is by no means alone in the Fox family. The Daily Beast has reported on Trump’s most loyal boosters at the right-leaning network in talking heads Eric Bolling, Andrea Tantaros, Jeanine Pirro, and chief fratboy correspondent Jesse Watters.

But Dobbs’s brand of Trump sycophancy flirts with campaign surrogacy.

Hours after BuzzFeed reported on Super Tuesday eve that The New York Times was sitting on an off-the-record conversation in which Trump admitted his anti-immigration talk is all hot air, Dobbs dedicated an entire monologue to alleging a conspiracy exists between the news outlets and the Republican Party.

“This attack…is collusion,” he fumed. “[They are] all working together to take down Trump,” he added, after casually noting that a Mexican billionaire is the Times’ top shareholder. “I believe in coincidences, just not this one.”

It should come as no surprise that Dobbs—who made a career of warning that “illegal aliens” were bringing leprosy back to America—has gleefully defended every outrageous statement Trump has made about Mexicans and undocumented immigrants.

“Trump is almost single-handedly burying political correctness,” Dobbs cheered in response to The Donald’s repeated use of terms like “rapists” and “anchor babies” to describe immigrants and their children, respectively. “How great is that?”

Dobbs’s lexicon also appears to mirror that of his candidate.

“[Trump] is smart, very smart, very rich, and beyond [the establishment’s] power to destroy,” he said in August 2015. On his Twitter feed, the 70-year-old cable newser often writes approving descriptions of stories about Trump destroying his weak enemies—e.g., he “tutored” NBC’s Chuck Todd and, in a single evening, “schooled” ABC debate moderators, his eminent domain critics, Jeb Bush, and a booing audience member.

When the reality TV star proposed banning all Muslim immigration to the United States, Dobbs dutifully showed up to argue with Bill O’Reilly about the policy. Ultimately, Dobbs shouted: “You’re watching an unholy alliance between the establishment right, the left of this country, and the national liberal media arrayed against Donald Trump, trying to bring him down and…destroy him.”

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His Trump cheerleading became even more pronounced as the candidate continued to dominate the race.

“This is truly an exciting time for all of us,” Dobbs beamed five days before the Iowa caucuses, after reading polls showing his man with a substantial national lead. “We’re about to find out whether it is time, in fact, for a loud majority of us to say enough is enough,” he said, openly including himself among the Trump army.

Other portions of the same monologue read like a Trump press release, complete with platitudes, loaded adjectives, and jabs at the credentials of his critics.

“Alleged conservative writer” Jennifer Rubin engages in “savage, sometimes venomous attacks” against the GOP frontrunner, Dobbs snarked about the Washington Post columnist. Little do she and her “elite” cohorts understand, the Fox host added, that “Trump means to return America to the people.”

The GOP frontrunner, you see, wishes to “throw off the shackles of political correctness, the orthodoxies of partisan political parties, the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, that kind of groupthink and the pure nonsense of those whom we’ve allowed to lead us to this sorry state.”

Tasked with anchoring the first hour of Fox Business’s Super Tuesday coverage, Dobbs once again used Trumpian language to bash “big losers” like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney for their recent attacks on the frontrunner for his hesitance to disavow the Ku Klux Klan during a CNN interview.

By fretting over such a “manufactured controversy,” Ryan and his ilk engage in “filthy politics” against poor, helpless Trump, ”subverting the will of the people,” Dobbs declared.

Donald Trump can either win the Republican nomination or go to a brokered convention and throw a weeklong hissy fit. In both scenarios, one can only imagine Dobbs will be right there with him, lobbying the FBN audience nightly to support the candidate who was practically designed to be the object of his unending devotion.