If you've got it, flaunt it. “Fox & Friends” has got President Trump's attention, and the top-rated morning show in cable news is most definitely flaunting it.
On the assumption that Trump was watching — and he often is — “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday offered the president advice for his impending decision on the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which extends deportation reprieves to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
“I have an idea,” co-host Brian Kilmeade said during a segment with Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano. “Let's build the wall and let the dreamers stay. Isn't that called compromise?”
“Dreamers” is a nickname for DACA recipients and “the wall” is, of course, the barrier Trump has promised to erect along the border with Mexico.
“Yes, that is compromise,” Napolitano replied.
Then Abby Huntsman, filling in for Ainsley Earhardt, chimed in. “That might be what the president was thinking all along, though,” she said. “Maybe it could be a bargaining chip in some way.”
At that point, Napolitano turned to face the camera and addressed Trump directly. “Mr. President, not a bad idea,” he said.
The curvy couch erupted in laughter.
What's so funny — to the show's hosts, anyway — is that Trump actually might listen. On Twitter, he sometimes parrots ideas presented a short time earlier on “Fox & Friends” or retweets the program's messages.
Here's what New York Times television critic James Poniewozik wrote in July about “Fox & Friends,” whose third host is Steve Doocy:
For years, it was a nontaxing mix of news, lifestyle and conservative couch gab, a warm-up before Fox's day of politics and commentary.
Suddenly, for no other reason than its No. 1 fan, it is the most powerful TV show in America. (It's also easily the most-watched cable news morning show, averaging 1.6 million viewers in the year's second quarter, following a post-Trump ratings boost.) Mr. Doocy and Mr. Kilmeade now offer strategic advice on health-care legislation. Politicians use the show as a kind of virtual Oval Office pitch meeting. In turn, Mr. Trump's live tweets set and reshape the show's focus.
Fox News was so amused by the Times's description of “Fox & Friends” as “the most powerful TV show in America” that it placed a full-page ad in the Times, featuring Poniewozik's appraisal.
This was grade-A trolling of the rest of the media — even better than the time the hosts asked Trump, on live TV, to flicker the lights inside the White House, as a sign that he was watching. The president didn't actually do it, but “Fox & Friends” edited a flicker into a shot of the White House, as a joke.
The point, in each of these instances, is to remind the show's critics — and there are many — that the “Fox & Friends” audience includes the president of the United States.