President Donald Trump reaches into his suit jacket to read a quote he made on Saturday regarding the events in Charlottesville, Va., as he speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump is known to be an avid viewer of “Fox & Friends,” but on Wednesday morning, the show wasn’t entirely kind to him. Republican strategist Gianno Caldwell, who heads up Caldwell Strategic Consulting in Washington, D.C., broke down when talking about Trump’s response to the deadly Charlottesville violence.
Host Abby Huntsman first asked Johns Hopkins professor Wendy Osefo for her stance; Huntsman introduced the topic as the removal of Confederate monuments. However, Osefo quickly addressed the racism she saw in Charlottesville, saying, “This is not ‘talking points’ here; this is personal. And we as a nation, as a country, have to do better.”
Huntsman moved to Caldwell, saying, “There are good people on both sides of this debate. We talk about keeping these statues up, people that I’ve talked to have said this is about history. How do we move forward — how do we learn from those mistakes if we just tear everything down?” But Caldwell, clearly emotional, opened by saying, “Last night I couldn’t sleep at all. Because President Trump — our president — has literally betrayed the conscience of our country.”
Caldwell then hit back directly at Huntsman’s remarks, saying, “It’s very unfortunate that our president would say things like he did in that press conference yesterday when he says, ‘There’s good people on the side of the Nazis. They weren’t all Nazis. They weren’t all white supremacists.” He continued:
"Mr. President, good people don’t pal around with Nazis and white supremacists. Maybe they don’t consider themselves white supremacists and Nazis, but certainly they hold those views. This has become very troubling, and for anyone to come on any network and defend what President Trump did and said at that press conference yesterday is completely lost, and the potential to be morally bankrupt. I am sorry, no I believe that, and I’m being very honest as someone who has been talking about these issues for a very long time. I’m sorry that this is where we are right now."
Huntsman tried to return to her talking point of the Confederate statues, saying, “It’s a slippery slope. Where does that end? Where do you fall specifically on that debate?” Caldwell said, “People who are taking down the statues should do so legally. … You can’t destroy property. That’s against the law.”
“Fox & Friends” is generally friendly to Trump, and his Twitter feed often directly references the show — if he sees something he likes on “Fox & Friends,” he quickly tweets it out to his 36 million followers. The New York Times noted that “for no other reason than its No. 1 fan, ['Fox & Friends'] is the most powerful TV show in America.”