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Sean Hannity defends joining Trump on stage at pre-midterm rally

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President Donald Trump and Fox host Sean Hannity
President Donald Trump and
Fox host Sean Hannity

Jeff
Roberson/AP


  • Fox News primetime host Sean Hannity defended his
    controversial decision to campaign on stage with President Donald
    Trump at a Missouri rally on the eve of the midterm elections.
  • He said that he hadn’t planned to appear on stage — something
    he and Fox previously insisted he wouldn’t do — but said he was
    “honored” by Trump’s request that he say a few words to the
    crowd. 
  • Hannity added that he hadn’t meant to smear his reporter
    colleagues at Fox, some of whom were present at the event, when
    he slammed the media from the rally stage, calling all the
    reporters there “fake news.” 

Fox News primetime host Sean Hannity defended his
controversial decision
to campaign on stage with President
Donald Trump at a Missouri rally on the eve of the midterm
elections, and said he hadn’t meant to call his Fox colleagues
“fake news” when he bashed the media at the event.  

Hannity
tweeted on Tuesday
that his decision to praise Trump on stage
and urge voters to cast their ballots for Republicans was “NOT
planned,” just hours after he insisted he wouldn’t appear on
stage with the president at the event. And he didn’t express
regret about the move, which he said followed an impromptu
invitation from the president, despite his own network’s
condemnation.

“What I said in my tweet yesterday was 100% truthful,” Hannity
tweeted. “When the POTUS invited me on stage to give a few
remarks last night, I was surprised, yet honored by the
president’s request.”

He added that he hadn’t meant to smear his reporter colleagues at
Fox, some of whom were present at the event, when he slammed the
media from the rally stage, calling all the reporters there “fake
news.” 

“To be clear, I was not referring to my journalist
colleagues at FOX News in those remarks. They do amazing work day
in and day out in a fair and balanced way and It is an honor to
work with such great professionals,” he
tweeted
 Monday. 

Hannity, whose nightly opinion program is one of the most-watched
programs on cable news, hugged and praised the president before
the cheering crowd of thousands.

“The one thing that has made and defined your presidency more
than anything else: promises made, promises kept,” Hannity said,
borrowing a Trump campaign slogan. 

This comes after Fox issued a statement which rebuked both
its star host and Jeanine Pirro, another Fox personality who also
appeared on stage at the event, after insisting throughout the
day on Monday that Hannity would not be campaigning with the
president. 

“FOX News does not condone any talent participating in
campaign events,” the network said in
a Tuesday statement provided to reporters
. “We have an
extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight,
and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate
distraction and has been addressed.”

While Hannity has long been one of the president’s staunchest
supporters in the media and reportedly regularly advises Trump,
it is unusual for any news personality to participate in a
political rally.

The Trump campaign advertised Hannity as a “special guest” prior
to the rally, but on Monday morning,
Hannity said
he wouldn’t campaign with Trump on stage and
that he was simply covering the event as a journalist.

“They’re very special — they’ve done an incredible job for
us. They’ve been with us from the beginning,” Trump said of
Hannity and Pirro. 


Read more: The media rejected Trump’s
‘racist,’ misleading ad in an unprecedented way

In an interview Hannity conducted with Trump just before
appearing on stage, the president told him, “I never miss your
opening monologue. I would never do that.”

Conservative talk radio personality Rush Limbaugh and
singer Lee Greenwood were also special guests at the rally in
Missouri, where Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is facing a
tough re-election vote. 

The move was met with shock and condemnation from fellow
journalists and media critics. 

“Either Fox News lied all day about their direct collaboration
with the Trump campaign, or the network simply doesn’t have any
control over Sean Hannity,” Angelo Carusone, president of the
liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America,
told the Associated Press
.

Trump’s ties to Fox run deep. He considers the majority of the
network’s top personalities “great friends” of his, regularly
tweets about their programs, and has created a pipeline between
the cable network and his administration. He regularly attributes
the network’s success to the fact that its journalists treat him
well.  

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