Fox & Friends First thought they booked pro-ICE Democratic congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick to appear on the show on Monday morning. Instead, they somehow ended up with Barbara L’Italien.
After the hosts kicked it to “Kirkpatrick” and asked her to explain why she supports ICE, L’Italien — a Democratic state senator in Massachusetts who is running for Congress — delivered a very different personal message to President Trump.
“Good morning. I’m actually here to speak directly to Donald Trump,” L’Italien began. “I feel that what’s happening at the border is wrong. I’m a mother of four, and I believe that separating kids from their parents is illegal and inhumane.”
“I’m actually Barbara L’Italien, I’m a state senator representing a large immigrant community. I’m running for Congress in Massachusetts,” she continued. “I keep thinking about what we’re putting parents through, imagining how terrifying that must be for those families, imagining how it would feel not knowing if I’d ever see my kids again. We have to stop abducting children and ripping them from their parents’ arms, stop putting kids in cages, and stop making 3-year-old defend themselves in court.”
Hosts, still confused about who exactly they were talking to, interrupted with lies about Trump’s family separation policy.
“Kids have been reunited with their families,” host Jillian Mele falsely claimed.
In fact, more than 2,100 kids who were separated from their families at the southern border have yet to be reunited.
“Again my name is Barbara L’Italien and I refuse to believe that our only options are open borders or traumatizing childr–” L’Italien said, as the show finally cut her video feed.
“That didn’t go as planned,” host Rob Schmitt quipped, as the show went to break.
After the break, hosts apologized, saying, “We were told Ann Kirkpatrick was going to be on the show. As you saw, somebody else stepped in front of the camera. We are working to figure out how that happened.”
L’Italien later tweeted a full statement of what she planned to say if she had not been cut off.
I've always fought for vulnerable people, and in Congress I will use every opportunity I have to make sure powerful people like @realDonaldTrump hear their voices. Here's the full statement I would've given @FoxNews if I hadn't been cut off. #ma3 #mapoli https://t.co/SAe7HoBVRV
— Barbara L'Italien (@teambarbara) July 23, 2018
L’Italien didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about how she ended up on the show.
UPDATE (7/23, 9:10 a.m.) — According to the L’Italien campaign, Fox News’ mix-up occurred after the network reached out to L’Italien staffers mistakenly thinking they worked for Kirkpatrick.
“They reached out to our staff believing they were reaching the Kirkpatrick office due to their own failure of due diligence,” a source with the L’Italien campaign told ThinkProgress. “Over the process of getting the interview scheduled, they repeatedly showed very little grasp on the facts, down to whether or not Ann Kirkpatrick was still in Congress.”
“Fox News is where you go when you want to talk to Donald Trump, and Barbara felt she had an obligation to her constituents to take advantage of that opportunity. But this would not have happened to an actual news station. Fox’s lack of attention to the facts normally is a disaster for the country, it just so happened that today it was embarrassing for them.”
UPDATE II (7/23, 1 p.m.) — On Monday, Fox & Friends First executive producer Desiree Dunne released a statement explaining from the network’s perspective how L’Italien got on the air. Here it is:
This morning we invited Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick to appear on Fox & Friends First through her press contact on file Joe Katz, who accepted the invitation on Kirkpatrick’s behalf. Katz followed with an email confirming the segment, which also included background information and a campaign logo for Ann Kirkpatrick. During the actual segment, Barbara L’Italien, appeared on camera instead of Kirkpatrick. Despite speaking to producers prior to the interview, L’Italien did not identify herself as anything other than Kirkpatrick until she was live on air, at which point we ended the interview.
In response, Katz, who now works for L’Italien, told ThinkProgress, “I showed the exact same commitment to truth and accuracy that Fox News always has.”