Fox Helps Trump Spin An Interruption During His Church Speech In Flint, Michigan, As A “Set-Up”

Fox News hosts helped Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump baselessly spin an interruption of his attacks on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during his September 14 speech in a church in Flint, Michigan, as a set-up. 

Trump Interrupted By Reverend During Attacks On Hillary Clinton While Visiting African American Church In Flint, Michigan

Trump Interrupted By Reverend During Speech In Michigan After “Political” Remarks. During a September 14 speech at Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was interrupted by the church’s pastor after making a series of attacks on Hillary Clinton. Reverend Faith Green Timmons walked to the podium and told Trump she did not invite him to the church to “give a political speech,” according to CNN’s report, and Trump responded that he would return to talking about Flint. From a September 15, CNN article:

The pastor who hosted Donald Trump at her church in Flint, Michigan, interrupted the Republican presidential nominee during his speech Wednesday to ask him to refrain from attacking his rival Hillary Clinton.

“Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we've done in Flint, not give a political speech,” Rev. Faith Green Timmons of the Bethel United Methodist Church told Trump after walking to the podium while Trump was speaking.

“OK. That's good. Then I'm going back onto Flint, OK? Flint's pain is a result of so many different failures,” Trump said.


Moments before Timmons interrupted him, Trump had begun attacking Clinton for supporting free trade agreements, which Trump argued had caused Flint economic pain.

“Hillary failed on the economy. Just like she's failed on foreign policy. Everything she touched didn't work out. Nothing. Now Hillary Clinton --,” Trump said before he was cut off by the church's pastor. [, 9/15/16]

Fox Figures Baselessly Speculate The Reverand Interruption Was Staged

Fox’s Todd Starnes: “Something Doesn’t Pass The Smell Test.” On his website, Fox News radio host Todd Starnes speculated that after Trump “graciously complied” with Rev. Timmons when she “ambush[ed] him in a house of Worship,” something “doesn’t pass the smell test.” Starnes suggested that the “Flint preacher” may have “set a trap for Trump,” pointing to a since-deleted Facebook post from the Timmons saying the church will “educate” Trump. From the September 14 blog post:   

The minister of a Methodist church made national headlines after she scolded Donald Trump for injecting politics into a campaign stop.

The Rev. Faith Green Timmons came on stage and stopped Trump in the middle of his remarks at Bethel United Methodist Church.

She told him to stay focused on the water crisis and not Hillary Clinton.

“I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not give a political speech," the reverend told Mr. Trump.

Trump graciously complied with her demand.

But something doesn't pass the smell test. Consider this screen grab from the minister's Facebook page:


“We have our chance to show Donald Trump that this nation is filled with intelligent, wise black citizens of integrity many of whom live right in Flint, Michigan,” she wrote. “What he will see is how we are braving a man-made catastrophe. HE WILL NOT USE US, WE will EDUCATE HIM!!!”

Well, I guess the Rev. Timmons showed Mr. Trump -- ambushing him in a House of Worship. I will give her credit for hushing up a protester who kept interrupting his remarks.

Mr. Trump showed great restraint and class as he complied with her request. And he deserves credit for at least trying to start a dialogue. [, 9/14/16]

Fox’s Steve Doocy: “Some Have Wondered Whether Or Not It Was A Set-Up Ambush.” Citing Starnes’ blog post, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy claimed “some” are wondering whether or not the interruption was “a set-up ambush.” From the September 15 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:  

ABBY HUNTSMAN (GUEST CO-HOST): There was a little bit of an awkward moment that happened as he was speaking and things got a little political as you would imagine on a campaign trail where he starts to talk about his opponent, Hillary Clinton. And then she steps in on stage.


STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Todd Starnes was looking at her Facebook earlier in the day, and the Reverend Faith Green Timmons wrote this, “Today is our day. We have our chance to show Donald Trump that this nation is filled with intelligent, wise black citizens of integrity. Many of whom live right here in Flint, Michigan. What he will see is how we are braving a man-made catastrophe” -- referring to the water -- “He will not use us, we will educate him.” And so some have wondered whether or not it was a set-up ambush. Although, by saying we will educate him, maybe what she was writing was we're going to tell him what happened.

HUNTSMAN: I do think there is something to that. When they’re on campaigns, the candidates do a lot of the attacking but it is important to listen to what the people have to say, to what the voters have to say. So I'm not sure they wrote that the best way they could have, but in terms of Donald Trump being out there, we know it's half of the purpose, right. To hear one of the concerns they care about, things they want him to speak to. That’s an important part of it. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/15/16]

Trump Echoes Speculation That The Reverend’s Interruption Was Staged During A Fox News Phone Interview

Trump: The Reverend “Was So Nervous” So She “Had [The Interruption] In Mind, There’s No Question About It.” During a phone interview later on the same edition of Fox & Friends, Doocy asked Trump about speculation that the interruption was planned in advance, and Trump claimed that Rev. Timmons was “so nervous, she was shaking,” so she “had [the interruption] in mind, there’s no question about it.” When asked if it bothered him, Trump responded that “everyone plays their games” but that the reverend was “a nervous mess … I figured something was up.” From the September 15 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): So, Mr. Trump, some have suggested online that they were out to sabotage you by putting that up. Or, when she says she was trying to educate you, the congregation, were they talking about trying to educate you about what was going on in Flint?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I was in Flint yesterday and it was a very interesting experience. I got unbelievably good treatment from people, I must say, and even in that audience, the treatment was great but something was up because I noticed she was so nervous when she introduced me and she called NBC, ABC. You know, ABC was up, the owner of an NBC network, and she said he he owns ABC. We sort of smiled together backstage. When she got up to introduce me, she was so nervous, she was shaking. And I said wow, this is sort of strange. And then she came up. So she had that in mind, there’s no question about it.

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Bother you, does it bother you?

TRUMP: No, it doesn’t bother me. No, I mean everyone plays their games. It doesn't bother me. I'll tell you what really made me feel good, the audience was saying let him speak, let him speak. And the audience was so great and these are mostly African-American people, phenomenal people and they want to see change. I mean they are living in -- you have to see the crime rate over there is ridiculous. The whole place is -- not only the water, the water is what -- what they did with the water is horrible, but the crime rate, all the other problems they have and people want to see -- I use the expression, I say what do you have to lose? I'm going to fix it. I'm going to fix it. What do you have to lose? And I'll tell you, the audience was fantastic. But she was so nervous. She was like a nervous mess, and so I figured something -- I figured something was up, really. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/15/16]