The Absolute Looniest Trump Trial Takes on Fox News So Far

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Getty

After a nearly weeklong jury selection process, the criminal hush-money trial of former President Donald Trump kicked off Monday with opening statements and the prosecution’s first witness—former National Enquirer chief David Pecker.

Monday’s proceedings produced several headlines, such as Pecker discussing his habit of “checkbook journalism” that resulted in him helping arrange a $130,000 payment in 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels to kill a story about her alleged one-night stand with Trump.

Over on Fox News, however, much of its trial coverage instead revolved around parroting the ex-president’s grievances about the case and how it is akin to “election interference” since he’s required to appear in court.

While the rest of the cable news landscape has devoted round-the-clock coverage to the trial, the conservative cable giant has mostly dipped in and out. Spending the bulk of its time on the pro-Palestinian protests at Ivy League schools, Fox News has centered a large portion of its Trump trial coverage on criticizing the case and the court’s treatment of the former president.

This has resulted in the right-wing network’s pro-Trump personalities and guests taking increasingly goofy and zany positions to defend the twice-impeached ex-president. For instance, amid reports that Trump has repeatedly dozed off in the courtroom, several Fox Newsers have applauded him for this—even as they simultaneously mock President Joe Biden as “Sleepy Joe.”

But praising the MAGA king for catching some shuteye during his criminal trial isn’t even among the looniest reactions that have made its way to the network’s airwaves this week. Instead, we’ve had a former Speaker of the House compare Trump’s plight to slain Civil Rights-era freedom fighters, a primetime host insist the ex-president is being treated worse than terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, and a morning anchor bring up middle-school indiscretions for some reason.

Let’s take a look at the goofiest takes aired by Fox News:


Primetime host Jesse Watters, a former Bill O’Reilly lackey whose stock in trade is delighting Fox News grandpas with his performatively outrageous antics, was beside himself on Monday that golf-loving ex-president was stuck in the courtroom and not getting enough time on the links.

“The guy needs exercise. He’s usually golfing. And so, you’re going to put a man who’s almost 80, sitting in a room like this on his butt for all that time? It's not healthy,” Watters exclaimed on Monday’s broadcast of The Five. “You know how big of a health nut I am. He needs sunlight and he needs activity. He needs to be walking around, he needs action. It’s really cruel and unusual punishment to make a man do that. And any time he moves, they threaten to throw him in prison!”

Hours later on his solo primetime show, Watters doubled down.

“Trump has been on the move his whole life,” he fumed. “Golf, rallies, movement, action, sunlight, fresh air, freedom. This isn’t lawfare. This is torture. They’re making a 77-year-old man sit in a room for eight hours straight, four days a week.”


Watters’ MAGA propaganda didn’t just stop with demanding that Trump get more rounds of golf. He also asserted that detainees in the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison receive more preferential treatment than the ex-president has been afforded throughout his trial. This included Watters namechecking a notorious al-Qaeda terrorist who has been called the “principal architect of the 9/11 attacks.”

“He has to sit there all week for six weeks. If he says anything, they’ll throw him in jail. If he leaves, they throw him in jail. That’s crazy,” he grumbled on The Five. “They had more allowances for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I think they bought a million-dollar soccer field for the people in Gitmo. I don’t know if [Mohammed] was able to visit his son for his high school graduation, but it’s similar.”

Despite this claim being repeated ad nauseam on Fox, Judge Juan Merchan has not actually ruled yet that the former president cannot attend his son Barron’s high school graduation.


During Tuesday’s broadcast of midday roundtable show Outnumbered, Ian Prior—a GOP operative and regular Fox News guest who the network once tried to pass off as just a “concerned parent”—warned that the hush-money trial could result in the end of America.

Reacting to the possibility that Trump could be held in contempt for repeatedly violating the judge’s gag order, Prior likened the ex-president being restricted from attacking trial witnesses and court staff to the fall of Rome.

“The very problem that we have here is we are weaponizing the justice system to go after former presidents. You back up 2,000 years and this is the kind of thing they would do in the Roman Republic that led to the end of the Roman Republic,” he dramatically proclaimed. “Caesar is out there and says if you do not come back to Rome… and face prosecution, what did he do? He crossed the Rubicon and there’s the end of the Republic.”


Just ahead of opening statements on Monday, pro-Trump Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt said that the ex-president facing criminal charges for paying off a porn star to help his election chances could result in—actually, we’re not really sure what she was trying to say.

We’re just going to report and let you decide.

“Does this set a precedent for other people who want to run for president?” Earhardt sighed. “What if they've done something like this in the past and they can say, 'Oh, well, they told me in the 8th grade they want to run for president, so since they paid off a girl when they were 30 years old, then that was election interference!'”


The award for zaniest take, however, goes to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who claimed that the possibility of serving jail time made Trump akin to slain freedom fighters during the civil rights movement or Marlon Brando’s character in a 1950s classic film.

“I am deeply worried that tomorrow, a totally corrupt judge and a totally corrupt district attorney are going to try to put a former president of the United States, candidate of his party, and front-runner in the polls in jail. Now, I think this is so horrendous that there has to be some way to reach out to the Supreme Court,” the Fox News pundit said on Monday night’s Hannity. “This is literally like some of the civil rights workers in Mississippi in the 1960s. The New York system is now so deeply corrupted and it's so bitterly, deeply anti-Trump.”

Raging about the Biden family’s business dealings and Judge Merchan’s daughter, Gingrich then analogized the trial to an Oscar-winning movie about corrupt unions—while getting the director wrong.

“I mean the whole thing frankly resembles On the Waterfront, Stanley Kubrick's brilliant film. This is about corruption. It has nothing to do with honesty, and what worries me is it's a genuine threat to Donald Trump,” Gingrich huffed. “I mean, I think any step that would put him close to a New York prison is an extraordinarily dangerous step and I would hope that there's some legal way to block it and make sure that it never happens, because the thugs he's dealing with are totally out of control, have total contempt for the rule of law, and frankly are unworthy of being in the offices they hold.”


Appearing on Trump confidant Sean Hannity’s primetime show on Monday, the ex-president’s son Eric Trump bemoaned that his dad was facing 34 criminal charges over allegedly falsifying business records to cover up the hush-money payment made to Daniels before the 2016 election.

According to the younger Trump, however, his father was too busy running the country to keep track of these records, though he added “not that anything was done wrong in the bookkeeping.” Of course, Trump wasn’t actually president when he allegedly arranged to pay Daniels off to keep her quiet in an effort to keep the story from impacting an upcoming election.

Eric Trump also complained to Hannity that it seemed unfair that his dad was facing criminal charges over such a relatively small amount of money since the vast majority of the American public supposedly loves him. “They’re going after the former president of the United States, a person beloved by hundreds of millions of people in this country, over $130,000,” he groused.

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