Fox anchor says GOP House speaker candidates backed out of agreement to appear on Fox after “pressure built”

Video file

Citation From the October 6, 2023, edition of Fox News' The Story With Martha MacCallum 

MARTHA MACCALLUM (FOX NEWS ANCHOR): Breaking right now, an update on an event that was supposed to happen here on Fox next week in the battle to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives. Let's bring in Special Report anchor and Executive Editor Bret Baier. Bret, good afternoon to you. Tell us a little bit about what was planned and what's going on.

BRET BAIER (FOX NEWS ANCHOR): Well, it's been quite something over the past couple of days. We locked in the declared candidates for speaker, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan, the House Majority Leader Steve Scalise. They and their staffs confirmed that they would sit together on Capitol Hill on Monday for an in-depth discussion about the speaker's race, what the issues are ahead.

We had word that Congressman Hern from Oklahoma was going to get in the race. We said if, in fact, you're a declared candidate, you're welcome to join this as well. We were told that he was going to be a declared candidate by close of business today. So we planned for the three of them to sit together. All three of them knew that they were going to be on together Monday on Capitol Hill. We agreed to hold back the announcement of that until Special Report tonight to wait for Congressman Hern to, as expected, get into the speaker's race. OK. That's where it stood as of yesterday.

Today, this morning, there was some kind of leak on Capitol Hill. We obviously worked with a number of staffs to set up Monday and how the logistics were going to work. Somehow, somewhere it leaked on Capitol Hill with some bizarre stories and weird reporting that I was going to be moderating a debate privately for the Republican caucus, and then something else. But bottom line is it leaked and then there became pressure from other members on these three to not do that before they talked to members.

Congressman Hern still has not declared for speaker, but yet he tweeted out this afternoon that I haven't decided whether I'm going to run, but I can tell you this: I'm not going to be on TV before I talk to the Republican members.

So they had all agreed, the pressure built, and that's what happened. It's not going to happen on Monday. We're still going to do the show on Capitol Hill, and we're booking some interesting guests there as well, but I think that the word “debate" has scared folks over the past couple of days, and we're hoping to change that. We're going to use a different word going forward, "in-depth discussion."