Fox News anchor Chris Wallace is known for his no-nonsense approach to Donald Trump, and on Sunday, he even went so far as to warn the Fox network viewers and other journalists that Trump’s recent attack on the media was one step too far.
During the network’s Sunday morning edition of Fox & Friends, Wallace called Trump out:
“Look, we’re big boys. We criticize presidents. They want to criticize us back, that’s fine. But when he said that the fake news media is not my enemy, it’s the enemy of the American people, I believe that crosses an important line.”
The panel hosting the popular Fox chat program asked Wallace why Trump’s attack on the press was such a big deal after showing a clip of Trump speaking about former presidents, like Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, who Trump claims also had conflicts with the press of their day.
Wallace responded by quoting Jefferson himself, who wrote:
“And were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Trump has initiated what can only be called a war with the nation’s news organizations, insulting them in childish Twitter posts and cutting them off during press conferences. His battle with the media predates Election Day; last summer, Trump banned a number of news organizations from covering his campaign, including Univision, POLITICO, The Des Moines Register, The Washington Post, and others, not lifting his ban until September.
Wallace told the Fox panelists:
“We can take criticism, but to say we’re the enemy of the American people, it really crosses an important line.”
Wallace also compared the former reality TV show host’s behavior with that of former president Barrack Obama:
“Lord knows, Barack Obama criticized Fox News. If Donald Trump wants to criticize the New York Times, that’s fine. But it’s different from saying that we are an enemy of the American people. That’s a different thing.”
Wallace also warned the viewing audience not to take Trump’s side automatically or to let their bias keep them from questioning his attacks on the free press guaranteed by the First Amendment:
“And I know there are a lot of [Fox News] listeners out there who are going to reflexively take Donald Trump’s side on this. It’s a different thing when it’s a president — because if it’s a president you like trying to talk about the press being the enemy of the people, then it’s going to be a president you don’t like saying the same thing. And that’s very dangerous.”
Wallace also argued with Reince Priebus, Trump’s White House chief of staff, who appeared on Fox News Sunday. Referring to Trump’s obstructive behavior with news outlets that don’t paint him in a shining light, Wallace told Priebus:
“You don’t get to tell us what to do any more than Barack Obama did.”
Wallace’s complaints about Trump’s attack continued with Priebus in the same vein:
“I don’t have any problem with you complaining about bias. But the president went a lot further than that. He said that the ‘fake media,’ not certain stories, the ‘fake media,’ are an enemy to the country. We don’t have a state-run media in this country. That’s what they have in dictatorships.”
Wallace’s comments follow closely behind those of Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who also blasted Trump for his attack on the press and his constant obfuscation and lies.
You can watch Wallace on Fox & Friends below: