On Monday morning he called into “Fox & Friends,” one of his most reliable sources of support, and praised his own response to the pandemic.
It was Trump’s third interview on Fox in the past week, and it was more of the same: He talked for 54 minutes with hardly a tough question or assertive follow-up.
If the ratings-conscious president had wanted to reach a bigger audience, he would have called into the “Today” show or “Good Morning America.” If he had wanted to be heard on the global stage, he would have granted an interview to CNN.
His decision to stay on Fox suggest he wants to shore up his base — and avoid difficult questioning.
To be fair, Trump has been participating in near-daily briefings at the White House with members of his coronavirus task force. He has quarreled with multiple reporters at the briefings and bristled when they pressed him about his handling of the crisis.
But the briefing dynamic is different than a traditional interview. As the crisis has deepened and the death toll has risen, Trump’s only national TV interviews have been with Fox News.
“That shows the power of … that shows you have the No. 1 rated show on television,” Trump said.
Hannity’s program often rates No. 1 on cable television, but not on television overall. Numerous broadcast news programs have far bigger audiences, like “60 Minutes” and “World News Tonight.”
But the president would face some serious questioning on those shows. So he steers clear — even when the United States is suffering through one of the toughest stretches in its history.
He has turned down all interview requests from CNN.