Fox News leaped to the president’s defense after the New York Times published a bombshell story on Tuesday detailing how Donald Trump — despite the image he’s promoted of himself as a self-made billionaire — used tax dodges to siphon nearly a half-billion dollars from his dad’s real estate empire into his own pockets.
In an extraordinary move, the story’s lede accuses the sitting president of crimes, alleging the newspaper’s investigation turned up “instances of outright fraud” that Trump used to enhance the fortune he took from his dad.
But before most people may have had a chance to make it through the lengthy piece, the president’s favorite TV channel got busy defending him.
Shortly after the story was published, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto dismissed tax fraud as “creative accounting,” saying, “I don’t know if there’s a there there outside of the fact the president benefited from having a rich father and a good marketing skill.”
Fox's business show calls the activities in the NYT report "creative accounting" and dismisses it as Trump benefiting from a rich dad
CAVUTO: "I don't know if there's a there there outside of the fact the president benefited from having a rich father and a good marketing skill" pic.twitter.com/9CS1o8apgA
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) October 2, 2018
On Wednesday morning, Fox & Friends advanced a different talking point to defend the president. Host Brian Kilmeade actually spun the story as a positive, arguing it proves “there’s no financial benefit for Donald Trump running for president.”
Ainsley Earhardt added that the revelations amount to “bashing his dad who has been dead for a very long time” — despite the fact that the New York Times story does not “bash” Trump’s father Fred, who died in 1999.
Fox & Friends' takeaway from to bombshell NYT story about Trump benefiting from fraudulent tax schemes is that it proves there was "no financial benefit for Donald Trump running for president." #StateMediaWatch pic.twitter.com/IsEnTT0kcD
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) October 3, 2018
Kilmeade’s spin isn’t even accurate. On the same day that the NYT published its investigation of Trump’s wealth, Forbes ran a piece about how Trump — who broke precedent by refusing to divest from his business interests when he took office — is trying to profit off the presidency, but largely failing.
Fox News, of course, is in the habit of protecting Trump, and in return the president promotes the network and grants it access that no one else gets.
In one particularly notable case from last April, Fox & Friends took the extreme measure of abruptly ending an exclusive interview with the president after he started yelling, live on air, about how the Department of Justice should spend more time investigating Democrats, and less time looking into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia.