Shortly after the White House announced Thursday that President Trump will both sign a funding bill to avert a government shutdown and declare a national emergency to get money for his desired border wall, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith wondered aloud how much influence his own colleagues had on the decision.
While discussing the breaking news with Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts, Smith asked to what degree of influence others had on the president’s decision. And he wasn’t being all that subtle as to whom he was referencing.
“Sitting here as one who does the news and doesn’t do the commentary,” Smith observed, seemingly referencing Fox’s hard divide between its opinion and news operations. “But all the people who are out there making noise for him have said ‘OK, go ahead and do this, but you better sign the national emergency.’”
Without specifically naming Trump-allied colleagues like Sean Hannity or Lou Dobbs, he continued: “How much of an effect has that had? Do we have a way to know?”
Elsewhere in the broadcast, Smith mentioned that some of those who “carry water” for Trump “within the airwaves” had been “unhappy” with the possibility that the president would sign a spending bill without the national-emergency declaration.
Roberts, meanwhile, mentioned only Trump’s Capitol Hill allies, stating that the president has had support for this plan from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for weeks now. He added that White House lawyers have looked at this for months and determined there are “certain baskets of money” they can utilize for the wall.
Since negotiators announced there was a budget compromise in place that only included $1.375 billion for border security, the president’s staunchest Fox News allies have rallied around the idea of Trump signing the bill but only if he also declares a national emergency. In fact, this was exactly the plan that Hannity, a Trump confidant, detailed on his show Wednesday night, advising the president that now “is the time” to declare a national emergency.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that Trump’s team consulted with both Hannity and Dobbs to get them on board with the president’s plans.