Trump rips Fox’s Chris Wallace for ‘dumb and unfair’ Scalise interview

November 18, 2019

President Donald Trump took a swipe at Chris Wallace on Sunday after the center-left Fox veteran grilled Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) over his defense of the president in what Trump called a “dumb and unfair” interview, the Washington Examiner reports.

Trump tied in Wallace’s interview with what he sees as a decline in Fox’s prestige, saying that “this kind of dumb and unfair interview would never have happened in the [Fox News] past.”

Trump slams “Obnoxious Chris”

For his part, Scalise has vigorously defended the president against what he calls a “Soviet-style” show trial, in which the prosecutors have already reached a guilty verdict and just put on a performance for the public. But in his Sunday interview with Scalise, Wallace grilled the Republican for “very badly” describing how the impeachment hearings have played out for Trump so far.

After Scalise described the some dozen people who listened in on President Trump’s phone call with Ukraine as “[Rep. Adam] Schiff’s witnesses,” Wallace shot back that they all worked in President Trump’s administration, according to the Daily Beast. Of course, Wallace’s point about “Schiff’s witnesses” glosses over the possibility, raised by Trump and many of his allies, that Trump is the target of a permanent “Deep State” bureaucracy that is not necessarily loyal to the current administration.

Scalise responded that the Democrats have blocked potentially countervailing testimony from other Trump administration witnesses, that the “whistleblower” who started it all — who is also a former Trump official — had a possible motive against Trump, and that “not one” of the witnesses who have testified in the hearings so far have provided any first-hand evidence of wrongdoing.

Wallace snapped back that “we’re not talking about the whistleblower” and accused Scalise of “very badly [mischaracterizing]” what the three witnesses have said so far. The Fox host went on to play a clip of ambassador Bill Taylor testifying that Trump’s wish to withhold aid from Ukraine was “crazy.”

For his part, Scalise fired back that Ukraine eventually received the money anyway, so the alleged “quid pro quo” doesn’t matter. Scalise also got Wallace to admit that Trump has been “much tougher” in supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression, including by selling Javelin missiles to Ukraine in a reversal from the Obama administration, but Wallace held to the point that the military aid was suspended and not released until the whistleblower’s complaint surfaced.

Responding to the interview, Trump said that Scalise did a “great job” and zinged Wallace for failing to live up to his father’s legacy as a journalist.

Wallace goes all-in on Ukraine

Republicans have long said that the impeachment hearings have revealed a plot against President Trump from disgruntled former bureaucrats (some of whom were holdovers from the Obama administration, the New York Post noted) who Republicans say have attacked Trump over a policy dispute about Ukraine. But if the core of that dispute is that Trump let down a critical U.S. “ally” by putting his “personal interests” before aid to Ukraine, then the fact that Trump provided lethal weaponry to Ukraine that Obama didn’t definitely deflates the charges against the president.

Meanwhile, President Trump has publicly soured on Fox News over the past year or so, occasionally criticizing the network for what he perceives to be a shift away from Trump and Republicans and toward the left. Along with Shepard Smith, who recently left Fox, Wallace has been a regular target of the president’s ire — and Wallace has mocked Trump in return.

“He often likes to say about me, ‘You know, I was covered by Mike Wallace, I liked him much more,’” Wallace said recently, according to the Examiner. “To which my reaction is always: ‘One of us has a daddy problem, and it’s not me.'”

But if his fiery interviews are any indication, it might be Wallace who is desperately searching for approval — from the left.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.