An excerpt from a book on the Trump administration titled “The Hill to Die On” revealed that Fox News host Sean Hannity was a participant in a conference call on health care between President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers.
The Washington Post reported that in the book, which “chronicles Congress in the age of Trump” and will be released April 9, Hannity “makes several appearances, including on a health-care conference call with Trump and a few Republican lawmakers where, ‘much to everyone’s surprise,’ Hannity is also on the line.”
Hannity has repeatedly encouraged Republicans to help President Donald Trump repeal Obamacare -- at one point offering former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) both of his shows to promote Republican health care legislation -- and recently he applauded the Trump administration’s decision to try overturning the entire health care law, which would strip access to health care for tens of millions of Americans. In 2013, Hannity aired a special on “Obamacare horror stories.” A subsequent investigation found that none of Hannity's guests even attempted to shop on the exchange. Hannity was also one of the biggest proponents of the “Death Panel” lie. And he's pushed numerous other Obamacare lies as well.
While shocking, it should not be surprising that Hannity was dialed in to the meeting. Fox News has long been intertwined with the Republican Party. The network has served as the GOP’s communications arm. Numerous Fox personalities have helped Republicans by campaigning for them or attending their fundraisers. Fox has even served as a warming bench for Republican presidential aspirants.
But this relationship has grown much closer since Trump became president. Hannity and Trump talk on the phone regularly. Reports show that Hannity has advised Trump and those close to him on immigration policy, general strategy and messaging, and on the Trump/Russia investigation. A senior Trump economic adviser revealed that the president interrupted an economic briefing to call Fox Business host Lou Dobbs. Both Hannity and Doobs advised Trump on the most recent government shutdown. And Trump invited Hannity and fellow Fox host Jeanine Pirro on stage at one of his rallies to thank them for their support. These examples only scratch the surface of the depth of ties between Fox News and the Trump administration -- which has hired multiple Fox employees.
The book’s example of the closeness between the conservative network and Trump comes at a crucial time for Fox’s reputation. Fox has attempted to differentiate its “news” and “opinion” sides after the Democratic National Committee rejected the network as a presidential primary debate host. But there is little difference between the two sides of Fox News when it comes to conservative misinformation, just as there is little separation between Fox and the Trump administration.