Trump's reversal on Fox News appeared to happen overnight

By Sean Neumann
May 19, 2020 03:00 PM
President Donald Trump during a virtual town hall hosted by Fox News on May 3.
| Credit: Oliver Contreras/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Maybe it was a good night's sleep, but President Donald Trump changed his tune Tuesday morning after criticizing Fox News on Monday night while claiming he was "looking for a new outlet."

One night after Trump took exception to Fox News host Neil Cavuto's criticism and made his surprising claim, the first thing the president tweeted Tuesday morning was a brag about the network's Fox & Friends program's ratings compared to MSNBC's Morning Joe.

".@foxandfriends trounces Morning Psycho (MSDNC) in the Ratings!" Trump tweeted, about 11 hours after claiming he was moving on from Fox News, appearing to misspell MSNBC's abbreviation to suggest it has a liberal bias.

"I thought you no longer like Fox?" one response to his tweet read.

On Monday afternoon, Cavuto reacted with alarm after Trump said he has been taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine because he thinks it might ward off COVID-19.

However, health experts — including federal officials — have warned against using the unproven drug to fight off the coronavirus until more testing determines whether it's safe to consume and what a proper dosage would be. Early research, including a study from Veterans Affairs, indicates the drug is dangerous when misused and has no impact on curing the coronavirus.

"If you are in a risky population here, and you are taking this as a preventative treatment to ward off the virus, or in a worst-case scenario you are dealing with the virus, and you are in this vulnerable population, it will kill you," Cavuto warned viewers. "I cannot stress enough. This will kill you."

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House on May 11.
| Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty

Trump has long been a Fox fan, dating back to his weekly call-in segments on the Fox & Friends program as he built his political profile ahead of the 2016 election. However, he often becomes angry with the network when it appears to disagree with him in any way.

The president lashed out at Fox in late April and blamed the network for "being fed Democrat talking points."

"[Fox News] just doesn’t get what’s happening!" he tweeted, adding in a follow up tweet that he has "No respect for the people running" the network.

Trump's attacks on the media, his ongoing propensity for not heeding science and his affinity for conspiracy theories without evidence have been a staple of his presidency. The 73-year-old often casts a widespread label on the media as an "enemy of the people," cries "fake news" when he disagrees with coverage of his administration, and he often targets specific reporters during press conferences and on social media in an effort to discredit their reporting.

Trump suggested last week that MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough was guilty of murder — drawing on a baseless conspiracy theory surrounding the news host that's been promoted by right-wing blogs and message boards.

Journalists at Fox News, which is widely known as Trump's preferred news network, know they aren't immune to the president's social media tantrums either.

Last month, Fox News anchor Bret Baier told PEOPLE the network's anchors feel a responsibility to cover news fairly and responsibly — whether Trump is a fan of its coverage or not.

"Sometimes he characterizes ‘fake news’ as news he doesn’t like," Baier said.

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