Is Laura Ingraham Slowly Backing Away From Trump?

·5 min read
Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty
Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty

Fox News host Laura Ingraham is now wondering if maybe “exhausted” voters are ready to “turn the page” on former President Donald Trump, especially if conservatives “can get someone who has all Trump’s policies” who isn’t the twice-impeached ex-president.

Additionally, the staunch Trump sycophant has expressed some skepticism about Trump’s claim that he “will do whatever” he can to “help the country” because the “temperature has to be brought down,” asking the former president’s lawyer what he’s actually proposing to achieve that.

These moments are remarkable because they subtly suggest Ingraham—a longtime Trump loyalist, friend, and informal adviser—may be slowly building herself an off-ramp from being a full-fledged conductor on the Trump Train. Or at least just relegating herself to a mere passenger.

The Fox News reaction to last week’s FBI’s raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate essentially put to rest the growing narrative that the network was distancing itself from the ex-president. The network’s stars have largely fallen in line, flooding the zone with attacks on law enforcement and half-baked conspiracy theories in a full-throated defense of Trump.

Matt Schlapp Claims He and Laura Ingraham Went ‘Undercover’ at BLM Protest

Ingraham, of course, has helped lead that charge. Although it was revealed that Trump is under investigation for violating the Espionage Act, Ingraham labeled the search and seizure of classified documents the “deep state’s revenge,” warning viewers that the feds could come for them next. Furthermore, she called for the dismantling and defunding of the Justice Department, likening it to a “praetorian guard.”

At the same time, Ingraham has indicated that Trump’s complete stranglehold on the GOP and right-wing media could be slipping amid nonstop investigations, looming legal jeopardy, and a never-ending media focus on all things Trump.

“The country I think is so exhausted, they’re exhausted by the battle, the constant battle, that they may believe that, well, maybe it’s time to turn the page if we can get someone who has all Trump’s policies who’s not Trump,” Ingraham confessed Monday to her Fox News colleague Lisa Marie Boothe on the latter’s iHeart podcast.

“And it doesn’t really matter in the end, whether it’s Trump making a populist conservative point or whether it’s [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis or someone like him,” she later added. “They’re gonna come full bore against any Republican, even an establishment one.”

While it’s hardly surprising that she mentioned DeSantis, considering he’s largely seen as a GOP presidential favorite outside Trump, Ingraham has also been one of the ultra-conservative governor’s biggest champions on Fox News.

In the past few months, the Fox News star has traveled to Florida for extended sitdowns with DeSantis while loudly praising his Trumpist policies and devotion to fighting the right’s culture wars. In fact, one of those primetime broadcasts with DeSantis last month came on the same night that Trump headlined a campaign rally in Arizona—which Fox News did not cover.

All of this has come as Trump has reportedly fretted to associates that Ingraham may be one Fox host who eventually bails on him for DeSantis as the next presidential election approaches. According to Rolling Stone, while Trump believes close confidant Sean Hannity to be “firmly in his column,” he has “expressed some doubt about which camp Laura Ingraham might end up in come 2024.”

Besides casting doubt on Trump’s standing with Republican voters following the raid and the growing likelihood that he’ll face criminal charges—Hannity, for his part, has assured his audience that Trump can run in 2024 with a felony conviction—Ingraham has also put Trump’s legal team in the hot seat in recent days.

Following reports that the FBI was looking for documents pertaining to nuclear weapons during the search, Ingraham asked Trump lawyer (and former OAN host) Christina Bobb whether she knew for a fact that “there were not documents related to our nuclear capabilities” in Trump’s possession. When Bobb attempted to deflect, the Fox News host actually kept pressing.

When she brought Bobb back on Monday evening’s broadcast, Ingraham then seemed mildly unconvinced that Trump would either be able to tamp down anger over the raid—or even be willing to do so.

“What specifically was Trump suggesting? I mean everyone wants to bring the temperature down,” Ingraham wondered. “I think that’s a noble desire, of course, but what specifically does he propose that he can do at this point?”

Of course, we’ve been down this road with Ingraham before only for her to go running right back into the Trump fold. Shortly after Trump’s 2020 electoral defeat that he then spent months attempting to overturn, Ingraham—who lent early credence to the ex-president’s election lies—took to the air to acknowledge the reality that Trump lost and that Joe Biden would be inaugurated as president.

Months later, when Trump remained the undisputed leader of the conservative movement, Ingraham went back to nary a skeptical peep about him.

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