Trump tears into 'nasty' and 'obnoxious' Fox News host Chris Wallace for 'dumb' interview on impeachment

William Cummings, USA TODAY

President Donald Trump fired off some furious tweets about "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, calling the veteran journalist "nasty & obnoxious" for his "dumb and unfair" interview with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

"@SteveScalise blew the nasty & obnoxious Chris Wallace (will never be his father, Mike!) away on Chris’s lowest rated (unless I’m on) morning show," Trump tweeted, referring to former "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace. "This kind of dumb and unfair interview would never have happened in the @FoxNews past. Great job Steve!" 

Wallace confronted the Louisiana Republican on several points in their discussion of the impeachment inquiry into allegations that Trump withheld military aid to pressure Ukraine to open investigations that stood to benefit him politically, including one into former Vice President Joe Biden. 

When Scalise said Trump was only concerned about corruption in Ukraine, Wallace pointed out that Trump never used the word "corruption" in his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.

When Scalise said the call involved only Trump and Zelensky, Wallace said, "A dozen people listened in on the phone call, and a number of them were immediately upset."

When Scalise dismissed those people as "Schiff's witnesses," referring to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Wallace said, "No, sir. They're career foreign service officers, and these are people who worked in the Trump administration." 

When Scalise said the whistleblower was politically motivated, Wallace said, "We're not talking about the whistleblower." 

And when Scalise claimed that the three witnesses who testified last week in public hearings said they did not see a crime committed, Wallace said, "With all due respect, that very badly mischaracterizes what they said."  

Wallace pushed back on Scalise's assertion that Trump did nothing wrong because the aid was released: "President Trump released the aid two days after the whistleblower complaint went public." 

Fox News is home to some of Trump's most ardent defenders in the news media, including Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro and Mark Levin. The president is a big fan of the network's morning show, "Fox & Friends." 

Though Trump has praised Fox News as the only network that treats him fairly, he has bristled at coverage he regards as unfavorable, including Megyn Kelly's 2016 Republican primary debate question on his comments about women.

He has railed against the network's polling for surveys that found him trailing Democratic candidates and that said a majority of voters favor impeachment. 

'I have the real polls': Trump calls Fox News polls 'lousy' after survey finds 49% support impeachment

Wallace has asked hard questions of several Trump administration officials in the past three years.  He has had testy exchanges with guests when he said their statements were contradicted by facts.

When acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney denied he had admitted there was a "quid pro quo" tying aid to Ukraine's opening of investigations, Wallace told Mulvaney, "You said what you said." 

After Scalise appeared on "Fox News Sunday," Wallace's next guest was Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., who sits on the Intelligence Committee. Wallace questioned Himes about the impeachment inquiry and the lack of firsthand evidence implicating Trump. 

Trump's tweet was not the first time he made an unfavorable comparison between Wallace and his father, who died in 2012.

Last month, Trump tweeted, "Chris Wallace of Fox will never be his father." After Wallace hosted a Fox News town hall with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, Trump said, "I like Mike Wallace better." And in June 2015, Trump tweeted, "The great Mike Wallace covered me in a much more professional manner than his son."