President Trump took a break during a Thursday morning press gaggle to personally acknowledge and thank a Fox News reporter for always treating him “fairly” and giving him a question he liked.
Prior to departing for a quick trip to Colorado, the president stopped to speak with reporters on the White House lawn, using much of his time to rail against Robert Mueller’s public statement and to walk back his Twitter admission that Russia helped get him elected.
At one point, however, Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke asked the president about China, which caused Trump to approach Corke to praise him.
“Come here, I want to shake your hand,” the president exclaimed while reaching out his hand. “Come here. You treated me fairly. Thank you, thank you.”
Other reporters, likely thinking Trump was done with Corke after the mutual admiration session, began shouting additional questions, prompting Trump to get in additional shots at the media while heaping more praise upon Corke.
“I want to ask [sic] a real reporter’s question,” he blared. “We’ll answer a real reporter’s question, okay?”
This is just the latest example of the president treating Fox News employees as though they are part of his team while shunning the rest of the “Fake News” media. In recent weeks, however, while the president has continued to trumpet Fox’s opinion hosts and commentators, he’s taken pointed shots at the network’s hard-news anchors, reporters, and analysts he feels aren’t sufficiently deferential to him.
Corke, it would appear, does not fall into that category.
The White House correspondent, meanwhile, has a history of uncritically amplifying and supporting commentary from alt-right conspiracy-theory zealots. Back in March 2017, he mass-deleted tweets promoting unverified far-right conspiracies (such as a claim that Hillary Clinton had bisexual trysts) after The Daily Beast spotted several of them. And earlier this year, the reporter excited the QAnon community with a since-deleted tweeted hyping up a photo of a coffee cup with the letter Q on it.