President Donald Trump, at a campaign rally Friday afternoon, pushed the baseless conspiracy theory that doctors treating patients on the front lines are deliberately inflating the death count for financial gain, drawing condemnation from the American Medical Association on a day the United States reported nearly 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 and a record high of almost 100,000 new cases.
On Fox News, meanwhile, the president’s propagandists are fixated on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s criticism of people heckling his speech at a rally the same day. In a pathetic attempt to damage Biden ahead of Tuesday’s election, some are baselessly suggesting that Biden’s comments reveal his contempt for all Trump supporters.
Fox commentators repeatedly invoked the scandal conservatives generated about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton referring to some Trump supporters as belonging to “a basket of deplorables” who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic,” which she had contrasted to the “other basket of people ... who feel that the government has let them down” whom she said “we have to understand and empathize with as well.”
Trump supporters repeatedly tried to drown out Biden’s speech with their car horns during a drive-in campaign event in St. Paul, Minnesota. In response, at one point Biden said of the hecklers, “These guys are not very polite, but they're like Trump. But look, they're going to be OK. We're going to take care of them as well. We need to come together. We need to fight for all these folks.” At another point, as the Trump supporters tried to drown him out, he referred to them as “ugly folks over there, beeping the horns.”
Trump’s campaign team, whose rapid response efforts seem largely limited to deceptively ripping Biden comments from context in a dishonest effort to create false narratives, immediately tweeted out a seven-second video clip of the “ugly folks” comment, claiming the former vice president had “call[ed] Minnesota Trump supporters ‘ugly.’”
Fox’s Trumpists, who worship a president who revels in personal cruelty and loudly disdains “political correctness,” immediately took the bait. They spent Friday night and Saturday morning feigning offense as they furiously tried to create a scandal for Biden.
“Today at a campaign stop in Minnesota, he called Trump supporters ‘ugly.’ That was not very nice,” Fox prime-time host and Trump confidant Sean Hannity said of Biden on Friday night.
After airing Biden’s comment, Hannity commented: “Wow, I thought you were going to bring us together? Well, he tried. The dog bites, the bee stings, you’re feeling sad, blame Donald Trump, blame those that support Donald Trump, right Joe? And then you’re going to bring us together?”
Fox host Laura Ingraham, who spent Friday following Trump on the campaign trail, also raised the “ugly” remark on her program that night. She claimed that “there was quite a moment where he heard some Trump supporters who were being a little raucous off in the distance, and he had his deplorables, irredeemables moment” by “call[ing] them ugly, basically.”
She then asked Fox contributor Sara Carter about the incident, saying, “I mean, Trump's rough, too, sometimes in the language. But Joe's getting frustrated.”
Carter responded by also invoking Clinton’s 2016 comments: “When you hear Biden, you know, call Trump voters ugly, you think back to Hillary Clinton exactly in the deplorable statement and you say to yourself, wow, this is really how you feel about the American public.”
She continued: “This is what the Democratic Party has become. It is not our father's Democratic Party. It is drastically different.”
Later in the program, Ingraham aired a video of Fox commentator Raymond Arroyo asking purportedly offended Trump supporters about the “ugly” comment.
Biden’s comment was also the talk of the Saturday edition of Fox & Friends Weekend.
Co-host Will Cain described Biden as having “wandered out on the lawn and yelled at some kids,” adding that he “comes off a little angry.”
During a second segment, co-host Pete Hegseth aired the comments and asked, “Was this the ‘basket of deplorables’ moment for the 2020 race?” He then turned to former Trump campaign aide Corey Lewandowski and Trump campaign senior adviser David Bossie, who unsurprisingly agreed that it was. Notably, Bossie pretended that Biden telling off hecklers “tells half of America exactly what he thinks of them.” He added that it shows Biden is “losing it” and is “an angry old man. “
In yet a third segment on the remarks, co-host Jedediah Bila described Biden’s comments as those of a “typical politician,” adding that it’s “sort of loathsome at this stage of the campaign.” Cain responded that Biden was offering “calls for civility while following it up with some of the most hypocritical name-calling you can come across.”
With fewer than 72 hours remaining before Election Day, this is what they’ve got.