Trump calls Fox 'fake news' for citing unfavourable 2020 election polls

Harry Cockburn

Donald Trump has described Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News as “fake news” in a rare outburst against the organisation after it reported the results of its own polls showing significant Democrat candidate leads against the president.

The polls by Fox showed Mr Trump trailing 10 percentage points behind Democratic hopeful Joe Biden when voters were asked who they would vote for if the election was now.

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg were all also ahead of Mr Trump.

In a tweet the US president said “something weird” was “going on at Fox”, and he attacked Bret Baier, the network’s chief political anchor.

He said: “@FoxNews Polls are always bad for me. They were against Crooked Hillary also. Something weird going on at Fox. Our polls show us leading in all 17 Swing States. For the record, I didn’t spend 30 hours with @abcnews, but rather a tiny fraction of that. More Fake News @BretBaier.”

Despite Mr Trump’s claim his campaign’s polls show him leading in “all 17 swing states”, this is disputed by people alleging to have worked on the polling.

According to NBC, which cited “a person close to the campaign”, Mr Trump’s polling showed he “is trailing across swing states seen as essential to his path to re-election and in Democratic-leaning states where Republicans have looked to gain traction".

The polls also reportedly showed Mr Trump is underperforming in normally dependable Republican-voting states which haven’t been important battlegrounds for decades in presidential elections.

The president reportedly “cut ties” with some of his own polling team following the leaks.

Mr Trump’s swipe at ABC News comes after the US broadcaster’s chief anchor George Stephanopoulos travelled with Mr Trump to Iowa on the president’s private jet, attended Oval Office Meetings and conducted a one-on-one interview with him.

The president said he “enjoyed” the interview, but said it would be “so funny to watch the Fake News Media try to dissect & distort every word in as negative a way as possible".

On two occasions Mr Trump addressed his comments on Twitter to @ABCNews, which is the Twitter handle for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which is different to @ABC, used by the American Broadcasting Company.

On Tuesday Mr Trump repeatedly attacked the “fake news media”, ahead of his official 2020 campaign launch in Florida.

“The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high,” he tweeted.

“Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild – See you later!”