The Fox News anchor, who's hosting a town hall with President Donald Trump on Sunday, talks juggling the news cycle, a full house and health worries for his son during the coronavirus pandemic

By Sean Neumann and Robyn Merrett
May 02, 2020 09:30 AM
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Bret Baier

For Fox News anchor Bret Baier, broadcasting from home with two young sons and a dog is a new and unique challenge.

Baier, who has been social distancing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic at home in Washington, D.C. tells PEOPLE that he not only has to be mindful of his children Paul, 12, and Daniel, 9, but also the family's dog Coco.

"We have to be careful that she's not barking in the middle of a broadcast," Baier, 49, says of Special Report with Bret Baier.

While Baier admits, "I see my family nonstop, which is great," juggling work and parental duties is a "different ballgame."

"I'm working a lot, it's just a different set up. I didn't think that I'd be wearing suit jackets with workout pants and socks, but that's what I do," Baier says.

Despite the circumstances, Baier says: "It seems to work well."

"We've managed to not miss a beat on our on-channel, on-air coverage," he shares.

In addition to the stress the virus has inflicted on everyday life, Baier is particularly cautious during this time as his son Paul has undergone multiple open-heart surgeries and is "vulnerable in this environment."

"He's had three open-heart surgeries and nine angioplasties," Baier shares, adding, "He's doing great though."

"He's the tallest kid in his class, he's on the basketball team and the golf team, but he's vulnerable in this environment. We're extra sensitive about it."

Baier explains that his wife Amy makes sure the family practices cleanliness during this time as she's "all about washing hands and making sure everything is wiped down."

"We're excited not to be worried about it but it's something that crosses your mind all the time — if you come in contact with somebody or they're not wearing a mask or something like that," Baier says.

Bret Baier

As for how he balances his family time and work life amid the pandemic, Baier explains he takes walks with his loved ones and enjoys "playing basketball with my sons."

He's also stepped up to help his kids when it comes to school.

"I have really dug into the new math. I had a real problem at the beginning, it's not like the old math. They told me there'd be no math. I'm helping my sons with school work, which takes my mind off the day-to-day. In the show, I'm also trying to balance that. I don't want to be so dire. I want to cover all the news and the states and the news around the world so that people have a good sense that they know what's happening, but at the end of the show we have the brighter side of things and they're just great stories, as you know, about Americans coming together in one way or another to help each other out. If we can focus on that, at least to end our show every night, it's a good thing," Baier says.

On Sunday, Baier and Martha MacCallum will co-moderate a virtual town hall with President Donald Trump – during which participants will raise their questions to the president about the phased re-opening of the country.

Explaining the preparation that goes into organizing questions for Trump, Baier says, "We want to pick the best questions, the most diverse look at America — both geographically and the type of people and the type of questions — and then Martha will follow up with specifics or things the president has said or different avenues to go down to try to press him on some things."

While press briefings don't always go as planned, Baier, who has been present at a number of news conferences, says he has no problem keeping Trump, 73, on track.

"I don't have a problem telling him, 'Mr. President, this is what we asked' and redirecting him. But it's an opportunity to kind of have a conversation on substance. I think we hit the right tone at Scranton, so we're going to shoot for that right kind of tone again."

Baier, who previously called out Trump after he said disinfectants and UV light may be used to treat patients infected with the coronavirus, explains he feels a certain responsibility when it comes to being a reporter.

"I think it's also worth pointing out that President Trump has tweeted about Fox News numerous times saying he doesn't like what he sees, depending on the show he's watching. I've been on the back end of some of those tweets, as has my colleague Chris Wallace ... but listen, we're going to cover it fairly and I think it is a responsibility."

"It took me about 500 days to get the first interview for me with President Trump," Baier says.

Of Trump calling out the media and his use of the term "fake news," Baier says, "I've said many times in interviews that I don't like that. It's in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes he characterizes 'fake news' as news he doesn't like. On the flip side, there are times when reporters go over their skis with the facts and get too emotionally involved in countering this administration, in particular, it seems."

Fox News Channel will host a two-hour virtual town hall with President Trump on Sunday, May 3 from 7-9 PM E.T.