President Donald Trump raged on Tuesday over his favorite cable news channel giving airtime to the president he succeeded, grumbling on Twitter that Fox News was playing Barack Obama’s “no crowd, fake speech” for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden while reacting to Obama’s comments in real-time.
Shortly after the start of Fox News’ midday opinion panel show Outnumbered, anchor Harris Faulkner told viewers—which obviously included the TV watcher-in-chief—that they would be pulling out to cover Obama’s campaign speech in Florida. The network wasn’t alone in airing the ex-president’s address live, as CNN and MSNBC also extensively covered it.
Obama’s fiery speech, meanwhile, focused heavily on prosecuting the case that the president is unfit for a second term and is more concerned about personal grievances and his own personal media coverage.
“And what’s his closing argument? That people are too focused on COVID,” the former president exclaimed. “He said this at one of his rallies, ‘COVID, COVID, COVID.’ He’s complaining, he’s jealous of COVID’s media coverage!”
“If he had been focused on COVID from the beginning, cases wouldn’t be reaching new record highs across the country this week,” he continued before taking aim at Trump’s personal recklessness with coronavirus. “If we were focused on COVID now, the White House wouldn’t be having its second outbreak in a month… He’s turned the White House into a hot zone!”
Moments later, Obama took aim at the president by referencing the New York Times reports revealing that the president has a secret Chinese bank account and has paid very little in U.S. income taxes in recent years, including his first years in the White House.
“We know he has a secret Chinese bank account, so he may be paying taxes to the Chinese, but he is not paying taxes here,” he declared, adding: “First year in the White House only paid $750 in federal income tax. Can you imagine that?! I mean, teachers pay more than that!”
This was apparently the breaking point for Trump, who immediately took to Twitter to chastise Fox News for airing the former president’s speech while hitting back at Obama’s remarks about his taxes.
“Now @FoxNews is playing Obama’s no crowd, fake speech for Biden, a man he could barely endorse because he couldn’t believe he won,” Trump fumed. “Also, I PREPAID many Millions of Dollars in Taxes.”
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn prior to traveling to a campaign rally, Trump grumbled that “Fox is very disappointing” and that this “would not happen with Roger Ailes,” referencing the late former Fox News founder and CEO who left the network in disgrace over multiple sexual-misconduct allegations.
Shortly after Trump’s tweet, Obama—obviously unaware of the president's online reaction—twisted the knife just a little more. “Even Fox News sometimes says what he said is not true, he didn’t mean it,” Obama proclaimed. “It’s not normal behavior!”
While Trump going after Fox News for not being sufficiently loyal and obsequious to him is hardly anything new, it is a new wrinkle for the president to blast the network for providing airtime to Obama, a former president. Trump has made it a habit to rail against Fox whenever he notices liberal pundits or Democratic officials on the channel, even making it a feature of his campaign rallies.
After Obama’s speech concluded, Fox News contributor Bill Bennett seemingly attempted to assuage the president through the TV screen by blasting the former president and gushing over the size of Trump’s rally crowds.
“Not very educational, I didn’t think. That screaming Obama is not the real Obama,” Bennett said. “He would fancy himself an intellectual... he’s trying to make up in volume what he doesn't do in consistency.”
He went on to claim that Obama’s crowd at the drive-in rally—which featured people staying in and around their vehicles due to social distancing—went “as far as the arm could stretch” and was “very, very small” before fawning over the president’s rally sizes.