Even Fox News can't cover for Trump all the time.
Donald Trump’s panicky attempt to save yet another imperiled Republican in a special election has placed him in violation of at least the spirit of laws against campaigning with White House resources, a fact that even Fox News couldn’t help but highlight.
Last week, news broke that Trump was jumping into the race for Pennsylvanias 18th Congressional District, to fill a seat vacated by a Republican who resigned in disgrace over an abortion scandal, in a district that Trump won by 20 points.
Thursday morning, Trump announced that he would be traveling to the district for the purpose of campaigning for GOP candidate Rick Saccone. “Will be going to Pennsylvania today in order to give my total support to RICK SACCONE, running for Congress in a Special Election (March 13),” Trump wrote. “Rick is a great guy. We need more Republicans to continue our already successful agenda!”
But the White House pushed back against Trump’s own words Thursday afternoon. White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah was pressed about the political nature of the trip during a briefing aboard Air Force One.
“The president is supportive of Saccone’s candidacy, but this is an official event,” Shah told reporters.
“So was he just confused this morning when he tweeted?” asked a reporter. “Did he think he was going to a different event for a different reason?”
“No,” Shah replied, “it’s an official event, but he supports that candidate.”
Fox News, however, apparently didn’t get the memo. On Thursday, it published a report with the headline: “Trump heading to Pennsylvania to back GOP candidate Rick Saccone in key special House race.”
Fox reports that “Trump is throwing his weight behind a fellow Republican’s battle to keep an open House seat in GOP hands Thursday, in what could be a key bellwether for the November midterm elections.” Fox makes no mention of the White House’s cover story for the event: a tour of the H&K Equipment Company.
In December, Trump held an event just across the Alabama border in an attempt to bolster the failed candidacy of accused child molester Roy Moore, while members of his family recorded robocalls for him, and Kellyanne Conway ran afoul of the Hatch Act by endorsing Moore from the North Lawn of the White House.
We saw how that worked out for Trump and the Republicans. With any luck, the Pennsylvania 18th will continue the trend of deep red seats flipping to Democrats, and deepen the GOP panic over the coming blue wave.