February 27, 2020

Fox Business host Stuart Varney fear mongered that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to take funding from Trump’s border wall (that Mexico was supposed to pay for) and use it to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) will further tank the stock market.

Media Matters caught Varney on Fox & Friends this morning. You know he had been booked to weaponize the health crisis on behalf of the Fan in Chief because cohost Steve Doocy said in his introduction, “The president, you saw him live on the Channel last night, addressing the coronavirus outbreak, pointing out who may be to blame for its impact on the markets.”

First, Varney reiterated the Fox talking point of blaming presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

VARNEY: Well, Bernie Sanders scares investors half to death. Socialism is an economy killer, it's a stock market killer, and Bernie Sanders is now the front-runner. The possibility, however remote, of a Sanders presidency, really upsets and worries investors. And so they should be worried -- the man's a socialist …

Even Varney soon admitted that “the real driver here is the spreading virus.” But instead of noting how Trump has sabotaged the U.S. response, Varney diverted attention back to Sanders and the Democrats: "if you see a Bernie Sanders presidency or a Democrat presidency looming at you, as the president says, anything can happen in an election. No matter how remote, you're going to get worried if you're an investor.”

Cohost Pete Hegseth added his affirmation. “That looming reality never became more stark than on Monday morning when the markets opened after what happened on Saturday in Nevada [when Sanders won the Nevada caucus]."

Varney wasn’t willing to take the messaging too far. He reiterated that the coronavirus is “obviously, the main driver of this sell-off.” But, he quickly added, “socialism is a factor.” He never mentioned how big or small that factor might be.

Doocy chimed in by saying that “some” Trump allies are accusing Democrats of exploiting the crisis by “trying to talk down the economy” in order to hurt his re-election chances.

Varney was all in on that point. As he expounded on it, he dropped his comment about the wall.

VARNEY: Well, look what some of the leading Democrats have been saying about the president's performance on the virus. I think they've been creating a level of panic here, and that's not helping the market. Sen. Schumer called it - called the president “dangerously incompetent." Speaker Pelosi says it's shameful, late, too late, an anemic response. And Sen. Warren, as you said earlier this morning, she’s got a new plan coming, she would take money from that racist wall, and divert it all to the virus. If that's not drumming up some panic which actually encourages the downside move for the market, I don't know what is. Politics is a factor.

FACT CHECK: The Week has noted that Fox News' own poll found in December that a majority of registered voters disapprove of Trump’s border wall, 52-44%. On the other hand, a much larger majority support Warren’s wealth tax – 68-26%.

The stock market is dropping because of coronavirus fears, not the lack of a border wall. But if Varney seriously thinks that taking away funds from the wall would create further panic, rather than reassurance that the federal government is finally doing something to fight COVID-19, this would be a great time for Trump to fulfill his promise of getting Mexico to pay for the wall.

We know what Varney is dog whistling here. He thinks sending a big FU to immigrants, as well as a big wink to Trump and his immigrant-hating supporters, is more important than keeping Americans safe from a deadly pandemic. Otherwise, Varney would have suggested alternative funding for public health, not just fear mongered about money being taken from the wall.

After they moved on to attacking the Democrats for not showing more COVID-19 unity with Trump (from the gang that endlessly attacked President Barack Obama's handling of the Ebola outbreak), Doocy and Varney acknowledged the coronavirus’ serious threat to the economic supply chain.

You can watch Varney dog whistle above, from the February 27, 2020 Fox & Friends, via Media Matters.

Republished with permission from Newshounds.

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