President Donald Trump lambasted Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday hours after the veteran journalist subjected Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) to a thorny line of questioning about the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry.
The president tweeted that Scalise, one of his loudest cheerleaders in Congress, “blew the nasty & obnoxious Chris Wallace ... away” during his appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
“This kind of dumb and unfair interview would never have happened in the @FoxNews past,” Trump wrote, adding that Wallace “will never be his father,” the late journalist Mike Wallace.
HuffPost reached out to Fox News and Scalise’s office for comment. Neither immediately responded.
Though Fox News is often a safe space for Trump, featuring largely friendly coverage of his presidency, he has previously lashed out at a few network employees who have at times been critical of his actions.
Last month, he tweeted that someone should explain to Wallace that his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the focal point of a subsequent whistleblower complaint and the ongoing impeachment inquiry, was a “good one.” He repeatedly attacked anchor Shepard Smith, calling him “hopeless” and “totally biased” before Smith abruptly left the network last month.
Trump’s latest criticism of Wallace came hours after the “Fox News Sunday” host interviewed Scalise. During the exchange, Wallace called out Scalise for “very badly” mischaracterizing some of the impeachment inquiry witnesses’ testimonies.
“Ultimately, President Trump and President Zelensky were the ones on the call,” Scalise told Wallace. “Both of them said there was nothing wrong. The foreign minister of Ukraine just came out a few days ago to clear some of this up to say there was never a link between money ―”
Wallace interrupted to point out that the Ukrainian foreign minister hadn’t been on the call. Scalise has repeatedly tried to dismiss impeachment inquiry witnesses for having only secondhand information about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
“If [U.S. Ambassador to the European Union] Gordon Sondland says the president told him, ‘Condition aid to Ukraine on investigating the Bidens,’ are you going to say that he’s wrong, that’s he’s lying?” Wallace asked.
Sondland, who donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee before the president appointed him as ambassador, is scheduled to publicly testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
He initially testified behind closed doors that he wasn’t aware of Trump’s pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate Biden, a front-runner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. He later amended his testimony to say that he knew about it.
“Look, I know you’ve been asking and others have been asking hypothetical questions ― let’s talk in reality,” Scalise said, adding that “not one” of the State Department officials who testified before Congress last week as part of the impeachment inquiry said they saw Trump commit an impeachable offense.
But Wallace interrupted again to scold Scalise for misrepresenting their testimonies.
“Sir, with all due respect, that very badly mischaracterizes what they said,” Wallace said. “William Taylor, for instance, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, was asked whether or not these were impeachable offenses. He said, ‘I’m there as a fact witness. I’m not there to pass judgment.’”
“But he made it clear about what he thought the president was doing,” Wallace continued. “He said withholding military aid to help with the president’s political campaign was crazy.”
Scalise shrugged off Taylor’s claim: “The problem with that is it didn’t happen.”