Fox News weekend co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy became more and more unhinged Sunday over the indictment by a New York grand jury of disgraced former President Donald Trump, in a case involving hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. In Campos-Duffy’s fabulist retelling, this prosecution may be just the start of a communist reign of terror throughout the United States, where average conservative voters will have to be frightened of their Democratic neighbors.
Fox & Friends Sunday began the morning with supposed “straight news” reporter Brooke Singman, who pronounced that Trump’s “friends and foes say this indictment will only make him stronger.”
While Singman went over the expected logistics for Trump’s arrest on Tuesday, Campos-Duffy mused, “Maybe he’ll be signing a few MAGA hats for the cops,” an odd pronouncement considering that Trump was previously responsible for a riot and insurrection in which his own supporters assaulted 140 police officers.
Following Singman’s report, Campos-Duffy also added: “Isn’t it just clear to you that what he’s guilty of, is of winning? Because had he not won in 2016, this would not have happened. There would be no charges against him. There would be, I mean, this is a non-issue, except that he won and he refused to go away.”
Co-host Will Cain further said there was “obviously no corollary,” but that Trump’s mugshot would become a new equivalent of Che Guevara T-shirts, to which co-host Pete Hegseth and Cain agreed that Trump’s mugshot “would be a symbol of what it means to fight the system.”
Then in the 7 a.m. hour, during a truly unhinged segment featuring an image of Chinese soldiers on the march. Campos-Duffy warned: “Many people flee their countries, then come to the United States to seek freedom after experiencing an abuse of law. But the Trump indictment is stirring controversy over the law within our own borders. So what do our nation’s legal immigrants think about it?”
Republican activist and frequent Fox guest Xi Van Fleet then warned that America was “becoming a communist banana republic.”
Another guest, former Republican congressional candidate Hung Cao, went even further: “This is what we escaped from, from Vietnam. My maternal grandfather was taken away — was taken away in the middle of the night. He was a magistrate, and he was just executed in the middle of the night. This is what's going to happen in our country. I grew up in West Africa. I spent seven years over there. And this is how a coup d’etat happens. I mean, this is happening right now in our country. And we’re trying to sound the alarm here and now.”
Campos-Duffy said nothing to Cao about Trump’s actual attempt at a coup d’etat two years ago, but instead affirmed his beliefs: “I talked to some Venezuelans at one point on my podcast, and I asked them when they knew things were really going bad and not able to come back from it in Venezuela, and they said, ‘When we saw our legal system weaponized and used against the opposition to make sure that they had no power.’”
Later, in the 8 a.m. hour, Campos-Duffy made the case that Trump’s wealth and power were in fact a sign that he was the people’s champion against an oppressive regime, and that facing accountability under the law (crimes for which co-conspirator Michael Cohen already pleaded guilty and went to prison) meant he was being persecuted as a warning to anyone else.
In the 9 a.m. hour, Campos-Duffy further warned her viewers that their own Democratic neighbors might be part of looming threat against them individually: “What scares a lot of conservative people out in the middle of the country, is that they feel in watching this, and seeing that there’s no one really defending Donald Trump outside of the Republican Party and the base. They go, ‘What does this mean for me? Will my neighbors who are Democrats be silent if I am then the next in line to be persecuted?’” (Campos-Duffy has previously endorsed violence by Trump supporters as allegedly representing the values of middle America.)
The great irony is that for all of the dangers of tyranny that Campos-Duffy and her guests warned Fox’s viewers about, these were each despotic measures that Trump himself has attempted to pursue, ranging from targeted prosecutions of his political opponents, a coup d’etat, and a desire for public executions. But the last thing Fox News will tell its viewers is that the encroaching dictatorship is really coming from inside the house.