Bernie Sanders drew big ratings and rave reviews for his Fox News town hall on Monday night. And President Trump apparently isn’t happy about his favorite cable network's role in it.
“Many Trump Fans & Signs were outside of the @FoxNews Studio last night in the now thriving (Thank you President Trump) Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for the interview with Crazy Bernie Sanders,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday night. “Big complaints about not being let in — stuffed with Bernie supporters. What’s with @FoxNews?”
According to the Bethlehem, Pa., Morning Call newspaper, however, Fox “reached out to various political and local groups in the area and mined requests to attend after it publicly announced the event.” And there were Trump supporters in the audience.
Trump followed up with two more tweets about Sanders, who released his tax returns earlier this week — something Trump has refused to do.
“Bernie Sanders and wife should pay the Pre-Trump Taxes on their almost $600,000 in income,” the president wrote. “He is always complaining about these big TAX CUTS, except when it benefits him. They made a fortune off of Trump, but so did everyone else — and that’s a good thing, not a bad thing!”
He then offered a prediction for the 2020 Democratic primary.
“I believe it will be Crazy Bernie Sanders vs. Sleepy Joe Biden as the two finalists to run against maybe the best Economy in the history of our Country (and MANY other great things)! I look forward to facing whoever it may be,” Trump tweeted, adding: “May God Rest Their Soul!”
Sanders responded with a tweet of his own.
Looks like President Trump is scared of our campaign. He should be.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 17, 2019
On Tuesday morning, Trump blasted moderator Bret Baier and the studio audience for their warm welcome of the Vermont independent senator and self-described democratic socialist — and Fox News for its hiring of former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile.
“So weird to watch Crazy Bernie on @FoxNews,” he wrote. “Not surprisingly, @BretBaier and the ‘audience’ was so smiley and nice. Very strange, and now we have @donnabrazile?”
It’s unclear what the president meant by “we.”
“Thanks for watching Mr. President,” Baier tweeted in response. “We’d love to have you on a town hall soon — or even an interview on @SpecialReport — it’s been awhile. We cover all sides.”
According to Nielsen, Sanders’s town hall on Fox News drew more than 2.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched town hall of the 2020 election cycle so far. (Before Monday, the most viewers for a Democratic presidential candidate came in January, when CNN drew 1.95 million viewers for its town hall with Sen. Kamala Harris.)
Sanders’s appearance came after the Democratic National Committee announced that Fox would be barred from hosting any of the party’s 2020 primary debates.
And several Democratic candidates may follow Sanders’s lead. The Hill reported Tuesday that South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in talks with Fox about appearing in a town hall event on the network. And according to the Daily Beast, three others — Eric Swalwell, Tim Ryan and Julián Castro — are also interested in a Fox spot.
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