Fox News and Fox Business reached new levels of shamelessness to defend President Donald Trump on Thursday night, invoking conspiracy theories, and Cher, to claim that Democrats are actually to blame for recent violence.
After explosive devices were mailed to numerous prominent Democrats — all frequent targets of Trump, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former Vice President Joe Biden — Trump has faced intense scrutiny for his history of promoting physical violence.
The White House and their Republican allies have denied Trump’s rhetoric could have inspired recent violence like the attempted bombings that also targeted Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), George Soros, and CNN.
Fox News and Fox Business followed those conservative cues on Thursday in an evening of programming that was bizarre even by Fox’s standards.
7 p.m. ET
While DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was telling Fox News’ Martha MacCallum there are no plans “right now to shoot at people” traveling in a migrant caravan, MAGA man Lou Dobbs, fresh off of deleting tweets that implied this week’s attempted bombings were not real, spoke with Trump religious adviser Robert Jeffress about whether God wants the caravan to come to the U.S.
8 p.m. ET
Following Dobbs on Fox Business, Trish Regan claimed “the media refusing to take any responsibility” for explosive devices targeting the media and Democrats was “the victim mentality all over again.”
Then Geraldo Rivera stopped by and started his remarks by saying, “At the risk of sounding like a far right-wing lunatic…” — an inauspicious prelude to, indeed, Rivera indulging in far right-wing lunacy — in which he expressed his belief that the attempted bombings were all “an elaborate hoax.”
Not to be outdone, Tucker Carlson spent no small amount of time providing a platform to “very smart man” Mark Steyn, who explained how the left’s unwillingness to tolerate conservative misinformation about immigration, gay marriage, climate change, Islam, and “transgender bathrooms” incentivizes violence.
9 p.m. ET
And that’s when things really got weird. On Fox News, Sean Hannity, who is reportedly one of the parties to regularly receive calls from Trump on his personal phone to which spies from Russia and China have access, invited viewers down “Hannity Memory Lane” where he attempted to defend the president by running down a laundry a list of supposed “incivilit[ies] of the left” that included musician Cher, actor Billy Eichner, and “Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame Star destroyed…again.”
Some other examples of alleged “incivility of the left” from Hannity’s strange brief included: “McConnell badgered at airport,” “Antifa takes over Portland, harasses old man for disobeying,” and “A truck with ‘Trump 2020’ bumper sticker set on fire.”
10 p.m. ET
Fox News’ Laura Ingraham closed out this extra-incoherent evening of conservative programming by implying that Waters, Biden, Clinton, and Robert De Niro brought the attempted bombings upon themselves with criticism of Trump. Ingraham then got mad about the staging of a William Shakespeare play.
Trump’s own lavish history of inciting violence includes tweeting a video that depicted him beating up CNN, suggesting “Second Amendment people” could stop Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, bragging about Rep. Greg Gianforte’s (R-MT) misdemeanor assault of a reporter, encouraging his supporters to beat up protesters, encouraging police violence, and retweeting an animated GIF that depicted Trump knocking Clinton over with a golf ball.
Trump has, in the past, promised his supporters that he would provide legal defense funds for anyone who wanted to “knock the crap out” of those who oppose him. Just days ago, a Florida man who was arrested for groping a woman on a Southwest flight to New Mexico told authorities “that the President of the United States says it’s okay to grab women by their private parts.”