In the week since Democrats regained control of the House in the midterm elections, Donald Trump has been in a dark place — what the Los Angeles Times reported this week as a “cocoon of bitterness.” Indeed, the 45th prez has been eschewing traditional presidential duties and appearances such as Veteran’s Day memorials, even to the criticism of many of his own supporters. It appears that Trump is in a full-blown meltdown mode, which was perhaps best illustrated by his volatile post-election White House press conference that resulted in CNN’s Jim Acosta getting his press credentials revoked. CNN is not going down without a fight, however, and on Tuesday, the cable news network filed a lawsuit against Trump and his top aides claiming that the White House violated both CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, as well as Fifth Amendment rights to due process with the banning.
The White House Correspondents’ Association has since come out in support of the lawsuit, and now CNN has found another unlikely ally in their legal battle: Fox News, the president’s favorite “fair and balanced” news source.
Fox News president Jay Wallace issued a statement on Wednesday morning affirming that the network intended to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court in an effort to restore Acosta’s credentials, because “passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized.”
You can read the statement in full below:
“FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”
Shortly after Fox News’ decision, CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted a statement on from NBC News that said the network would be following suit.
This all is unlikely going to improve the president’s mood. And on top of everything else, while speaking with guest civil rights attorney and NYU law professor Burt Neuborne on Tuesday evening, CNN’s Don Lemon floated the very real possibility that the incident with Acosta and the White House intern may have been staged in the first place.
“I’ve been in enough crowds where there are hecklers,” Neuborne said. “You want to control somebody? You turn the microphone off. You don’t send some poor intern into a crowd to take the microphone away. There are plenty of ways to control it.”
Lemon seemed to agree that the White House could’ve used another tactic. But he believes they sent the intern on purpose.
“I think that was staged,” Lemon said. “I think they played that up.”
If the White House wanted a media distraction they certainly got one, but for better or worse, Trump has so-far remained eerily silent on Twitter since Fox News dropped the bombshell, in what may be a possible calm before the storm.