The three Fox & Friends cohosts were in for a rude awakening Sunday when they tried to coopt Martin O’Malley into attacking Hillary Clinton and the “rigged” process that got her nominated. Instead, O’Malley shredded Donald Trump so thoroughly that the cohosts were obviously dumbfounded and flummoxed.
I’ve long said that the key to being a Democratic or liberal guest on Fox is to reframe the discussion your way and to stay on offense. O’Malley was a textbook case in how to do it. And, by the way, this was not the first time he aced a Fox appearance.
The segment was clearly designed to do Trump a solid by suggesting that a Wikileaks release shows that O’Malley is at least partly on the same “rigged election” page as the Friends' guy, Trump.
First, we saw an excerpt of a February, 2016 email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta asking for former Democratic presidential candidate O’Malley’s support. Then we saw an excerpt of O’Malley’s response: “Americans feel their own politicians have rigged the economic opportunity game against them.”
“Your email sounds a lot like it could have been written by someone like Donald Trump,” cohost Pete Hegseth started hopefully. “What led you to write that and why does that draw you to Hillary Clinton?”
O’Malley took control from his first answer.
“All of us” were talking during the primary about how “the system was not serving people in our country as it once did,” O’Malley began. He quickly added that the solutions for that are the ones that Hillary Clinton is offering. He named “a return to common-sense wage and labor policies” and “affordable college” as two examples. His third example started in on Trump: “Making sure those at the very top, like Donald Trump, actually start paying taxes again and paying their fair share to invest in our country.”
Cohost Tucker Carlson tried his hand at using O’Malley to smear Clinton. “Isn’t Hillary Clinton, herself, the embodiment of the system you’re decrying?” Carlson asked. He was referring to the fact that she and her husband have gotten very wealthy from their connections to power.
That’s when things got interesting.
O’MALLEY: Well, I would argue, Carlson [sic], that actually Donald Trump is living proof that the system is broken. I mean it’s ironic that here he is at Gettysburg. I think Lincoln would be rolling over in his grave to hear the sort of things that Donald Trump has done, the way he’s hidden his own tax records. I mean, the guy talks about corruption and accountability and he’s the first president not to share with us his tax returns. Even though his own family admits that they’ve received lots of money coming into their companies from Russia.
…The only plank of the Republican Party’s platform that Donald Trump cared to change was the plank that actually was watered down so as not to be so strong against Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Cohost and Trump cheerleader Abby Huntsman interrupted to do her part to bring the discussion around to bashing Clinton. She asked if there’s “any way you think you could have had a chance” against Clinton, given the way the DNC rigged the system on her behalf. But that didn’t work either.
O’MALLEY: I am glad to support her against the fascist threat that is Donald Trump and I don’t use that term lightly.
Hegseth interrupted to complain about O’Malley’s language. “Come on,” Hegseth snapped.
That’s pretty ironic, given that Hegseth was all approval and no challenge when Trump surrogate Brunell Donald-Kyei, on that very show, made far more inflammatory and less responsible accusations about Clinton. She said that voting for Clinton means “you’re aiding and abetting in the murder of homosexuals as well as beheading and disrespect of women.”
Despite the three-against-one set up, O’Malley continued laying into Trump’s fascist policies without much effective pushback from any of the cohosts.
My favorite moment:
O’MALLEY: It’s interesting that Donald Trump doesn’t have the balls to talk about the wall when he’s in Texas because even conservative people down there don’t want a giant wall built across their state.
…He might even lose Texas because people don’t like those sort of white, racist appeals.
Watch O’Malley turn every bit of airtime into an opportunity to advance his own agenda during this segment from the October 23, 2016 Fox & Friends.
Then give him a round of applause.
(H/T Eyes on Fox)
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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