Fox News buried Paul Ryan denouncing Donald Trump as “unfit for office”

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Fox News buried comments Paul Ryan made on the network in which the former Republican House speaker and current director of Fox News’ parent company said Donald Trump’s willingness to “suborn” the Constitution makes him “unfit for office.” Since Ryan offered that criticism in a June 11 interview with Fox’s Neil Cavuto, every other host and anchor on the network has ignored the remarks — except for Greg Gutfeld, who mocked Ryan’s focus on a “luxury belief.” 

Ryan, like many other Republicans who worked closely with Trump during his presidency, is not supporting the former president’s bid for another term. He told Cavuto as much in a Tuesday appearance on Your World and ripped Trump’s lack of character and actions regarding the January 6 insurrection.

“I think it really is just character, at the end of the day, and the fact that if you're willing to put yourself above the Constitution, an oath you swear when you take office,” Ryan explained. “You swear an oath to the Constitution, and if you're willing to suborn it to yourself, I think that makes you unfit for office.”

“I’m a conservative Republican,” Ryan later added. “He’s a populist. He’s not a conservative. I would prefer a party that is based on principles, not personality or populism. This populism is untethered to principles.”

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Citation From the June 11, 2024, edition of Fox News' Your World.

Ryan’s remarks drew coverage from Fox’s cable news competitors CNN and MSNBC. But if Ryan expected Fox to similarly spread his message to its right-wing viewers, then he misinterpreted the function of the outlet he oversees on the Fox Corp. board of directors. 

None of Fox’s “news-side” shows mentioned Ryan’s Trump criticism (Cavuto reaired comments Ryan made about the national debt on the Wednesday edition of his Fox News show). The only Fox figure to cover Ryan's remarks was Greg Gutfeld, the Trumpist host of the network's evening “comedy” show, who raised the comments there and during a segment on The Five.

“I was watching Cavuto yesterday before The Five, I was watching Paul Ryan.” Gutfeld said on Wednesday’s edition of the panel show. “He says he has a problem with Trump's character and he's not — he's going to waste his vote on a write-in. Well, your principled take on character is to be admired but it doesn't put a damn penny, a damn dime in a waitress' purse.”

“Character in 2024 is a luxury belief,” Gutfeld added. “You can talk about character all you want. Low taxes is not a luxury belief. It's a belief that ensures your survival and gets food on the table.”

The host reiterated this take on his own show that evening.

“He's talking about the Constitution being undermined, which it wasn't,” Gutfeld sneered after airing Ryan’s comments. “He's talking about character. Fine, prattle on about character. Some waitress at the Golden Corral and Sparks, Nevada, may go home with more money, but no thanks to your principled takes on character.”

“Sorry, that's a luxury belief,” Gutfeld concluded.

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Citation From the June 12, 2024, edition of Fox News' Gutfeld!

Cavuto also discussed Ryan’s “unfit” comments on his Fox Business show — but no other program on that network has mentioned it.

Fox had a similar approach when Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president, announced in a March 15 interview on the network that he would not endorse his former running mate. The historic news garnered less than 5 minutes of Fox coverage over the next few days.

That’s because Fox isn’t a conservative network with an interest in reporting on disputes within the Republican Party — it’s a Trump propaganda outlet that amplifies or ignores stories based on whether they will aid or damage his presidential campaign.

In the wake of the January 6 insurrection, Ryan told a fellow board member that he had informed Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch that the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a violent Trumpist mob had been a “huge inflection point to keep Trump down and move on for the future of the conservative movement.” 

He added: “Both Rupert and Lachlan agree fully. The key is to execute our collective will.”

That didn’t happen. Instead, Fox’s stable of propagandists never fully broke with Trump, and over the following years, they rehabilitated the former president and the insurrection they had fomented together. 

Now Trump is once again the Republican presidential nominee — and Ryan is still cashing Murdoch checks.


Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for any of the terms “Ryan,” “Trump,” or “Cavuto” within close proximity of any of the terms “unfit,” “fealty,” “RINO,” “Constitution,” or “character” from 4 p.m. ET June 11, 2024, when former House Speaker Paul Ryan said GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is “unfit for office” on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, to 11 a.m. ET June 13, 2024.

We timed segments, which we defined as instances when Ryan's comment that Trump is “unfit for office” was the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of the comment. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed the comment with one another.

We also timed mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker in a segment on another topic mentioned Ryan's comment without another speaker in the segment engaging with the comment, and teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host promoted a segment about the comment scheduled to air later in the broadcast.

We rounded all times to the nearest minute.