The question from a reporter to President Donald Trump on Friday night was, “Did you or your administration pressure Fox News to get rid of Shepard Smith?”
Trump did not answer directly, but rather took the opportunity to gloat over his least-favorite Fox News anchor’s departure, saying, “No, I don’t know, is he leaving? Oh, that’s a shame.”
“Did I hear Shepard Smith is leaving?” the president asked, soundly almost gleeful. “Is he leaving because of bad ratings? He had terrible ratings, is he leaving because of his ratings? If he’s leaving, I assume he’s leaving because he had bad ratings.”
Smith, who has been the rare critical voice against the president on Fox, announced on Friday that he had requested to get out of his contract on leave the network, effective immediately. “Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day,” Smith said in his final broadcast. “That the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive.”
The move comes just two days after Attorney General Bill Barr met privately with Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, prompting some speculation that the Trump administration had something to do with Smith’s exit.
“Well, I wish him well,” Trump concluded. “I wish Shepard Smith well.”
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