Fox anchor Bret Baier compares Biden’s vaccine mandates and student loan relief to Trump’s attempted coup

Fox News’ purported “straight news anchor” Bret Baier pushed an unbelievable false equivalency on Monday, during an interview with former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Parroting a message courtesy of Fox’s corporate cousins at The Wall Street Journal editorial page, Baier suggested that President Joe Biden’s policies are equally or perhaps even more authoritarian than former President Donald Trump’s failed coup attempt and open plotting for revenge.

Baier interviewed former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), to discuss her new book and her experience as a Republican who publicly dissented from her party in seeking to hold Trump accountable for the January 6 coup attempt. For his part, Baier attempted to minimize the historic event and its potential future ramifications.

Baier read a book excerpt from Cheney, which listed Trump’s call to suspend the U.S. Constitution (the actual word Trump used was “termination”), his public defense of January 6 insurrectionists, and Trump’s claim that in a second term he would use government power against his political opponents and media detractors.

“You’re fearful of a second Trump presidency,” Baier said.

“I am. I think that we know what he will do. He has already done it,” Cheney answered. “We saw what he did after the 2020 election, obviously what he did to try to seize power in 2020, and of course, on January 6. And he tells us every day.”

Baier then embarked on a remarkable display of both-sides rhetoric, citing a December 10 column by Wall Street Journal editorial board member Allysia Finley titled “Trump as Dictator Is a Classic Case of Projection.”

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Citation From the December 18, 2023, edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier

BRET BAIER (ANCHOR): This is The Wall Street Journal. This is not a MAGA op-ed here, and they say, “Trump as Dictator Is a Classic Case of Projection.” “Abuse executive power. Ignore the law. Run roughshod over individual liberties. Retaliate against political opponents. Mr. Biden and his allies have done exactly what they warn Mr. Trump will do if he returns to the White House. Unlike Mr. Biden, however, Mr. Trump would have to contend with a hostile media and federal bureaucracy that would be throwing pots, pans and candlesticks at him at every step.”

LIZ CHENEY (FORMER REPRESENTATIVE): Well, I think they’re wrong. I think if you, again, if you look at — we don't have to guess about what next President Trump would do because he did it before. And he would not have around him the people that were around him, the people, frankly, that the country will hear from as his trial moves forward who were all his appointees, people that he appointed to the White House counsel's office, the Department of Justice, his own family. People that told him on January 6, as you and I were talking that day, actually, that he needed to tell the mob to go home, people who told him what he was doing was illegal. Those people won’t be around him.

Baier then challenged Cheney. “But you haven’t been vocal about President Biden when, like executive orders to cancel student loans, ban evictions, mandate COVID vaccines. Well, here’s a list,” he said, speaking over Cheney’s initial attempts to respond — as if those topics could even remotely compare to Trump’s actions and statements past and present, as well as what he has planned for the future.

Taking a closer look at Finley’s column, which Baier so eagerly cited, she attempted to make a case that Biden’s actions in the normal back-and-forth between the executive and judicial branches of government were just as much of a threat as anything Trump did.

President Biden and his supporters project their own authoritarian impulses onto Mr. Trump because they don’t want to come to terms with their own illiberalism. The examples in the Biden presidency are rife.

With the stroke of a pen, Mr. Biden tried to cancel half a trillion dollars in student debt, ban evictions and mandate Covid vaccines—each of which the Supreme Court blocked because Congress never gave the president the authority to do so. Even after losing at the high court, his administration has used other regulatory means to write off about $770 billion in student debt.

Later in the piece, Finley wrote that the Justice Department had “filed trumped-up charges against Mr. Trump for allegedly defrauding the U.S.,” and that “progressive prosecutors in Georgia and New York have piled on.”

This was the closest that Finley came to mentioning Trump’s attempt to overthrow the results of a national election — as both Trump’s federal indictment for defrauding the United States, as well as his criminal case in Georgia, stem from his attempted coup. Finley only alluded to these as “trumped-up charges,” while not spelling out the underlying conduct.

Just two weeks ago, Baier displayed an astonishing lapse of memory when he said that it was “hard for me to back that up as of yet” that Trump would attempt to “be a dictatorship that doesn’t step down from office.” Baier made this claim despite the fact that Trump literally attempted to refuse to step down from office three years ago, an act conducted in full public view — and which Baier also downplayed while it was happening.