“Trump cannot even tell the truth” about something as simple as where his father was born, Sanders said during his Fox News town hall in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “Whether you’re a conservative or moderate or progressive ... I don’t think the American people are proud that we have a president who is a pathological liar.”
The town hall Monday night was moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, two anchors considered more neutral on the conservative-leaning network than Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. Sanders took several jabs at Trump on the president’s favorite network, including on issues like immigration, health care and tax plans.
“I guess the president watches your network a little bit, right?” Sanders told Baier and MacCallum Monday, to which Baier later said, “We’re giving you an hour of substance, so we can get over the Fox thing.”
Despite the jabs, Sanders cautioned Monday that “Democrats are going to lose” if they spend the entire presidential race attacking Trump.
Sanders is the first 2020 Democratic candidate to participate in an event like this on Fox. In March, the Democratic National Committee announced that it would not partner with the network for debates during the 2020 primaries because of a New Yorker exposé on Fox’s ties with the Trump administration. The DNC said it had no qualms about Sanders’ decision to have a Fox town hall.
“Your network does not necessarily have great respect in my world, but I thought we should have a serious discussion about serious issues,” Sanders said Monday.
Sanders told HuffPost in a sit-down interview earlier this month that he planned to use his town hall to tell viewers about the president’s lies. He said that it is important to separate the audience from the network, which he still believes is a medium for Trump propaganda.
“For better or for worse ― and it is for worse ― for whatever reason, you know, Fox has a huge viewing audience,” the presidential candidate said at the time. “And to simply say that we’re not going to talk to millions of people who watch that network, I don’t think is smart.”
While some Democrats believe that Fox News debates would give more credibility to the network than it deserves, candidates like South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Democrats should take advantage of its huge platform. Fox News had an average of 2.5 million primetime viewers last year, making it the most-watched basic cable network.
Sanders and Hillary Clinton both had a town hall event with the network during the 2016 presidential election.