When Fox News host Laura Ingraham urged Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to “step aside and support Trump” on Tuesday night, it was the latest sign of a sharp deterioration in relations between the Republican presidential nominee and the network that ousted her. Made a star. ,
In the wake of Mr. DeSantis’s second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Ms. Ingraham’s sermon was met with jeers and jeers from two of the governor’s most prominent allies.
“Why would DeSantis take advice from an opposing campaign?”. Christina Pushaw, the campaign’s rapid response director, wrote on Twitter, to which Jeremy Redfern, a spokesman for Mr. DeSantis in the governor’s office, responded.
“Fox News PAC,” He has written.
It was the latest sweeping stand from Mr. DeSantis’s inner circle against the cable network that until recently was one of the loudest supporters of his candidacy.
But Mr. DeSantis appeared on Fox News last week to attack his rival, former President Donald J. The attack was made accusing him of bias against Trump. Speaking to reporters in Iowa, Mr DeSantis said conservative media outlets, including Fox, had acted as a “praetorian guard” for Mr Trump. “They don’t hold them accountable because they’re worried about losing viewers,” Mr. DeSantis said, “and they don’t want the ratings to go down.”
The governor’s campaign manager condemned Fox, saying,full blown trump tv, Honesty was thrown into the air. On the night of the caucuses, Ms. Pushaw criticized Fox News for predicting Mr. Trump’s victory only half an hour after the Evans caucuses began. “Corporate media interference in elections,” he wrote on x,
Mr. DeSantis’ campaign and Fox News declined to comment.
Despite the apparent bad feelings toward Fox from some of his colleagues, the candidate has continued to appear on the network. On the day of his “Praetorian Guard” comments, he appeared on Ms. Ingraham’s show. He later sat down for interviews on “Fox News Sunday” and Monday’s edition of “Fox & Friends.” He taped an informal interview with Fox correspondent, Alexis McAdams, in New Hampshire on Wednesday, and he is scheduled to appear on Neil Cavuto’s show on Friday.
Still, the dynamic is a far cry from the days when Mr. DeSantis relied on laudatory coverage from the channel, throwing softballs in Florida with Brian Kilmeade and promoting his memoir in prime-time with multiple hosts, including Ms. Ingraham. Additionally, he distanced himself from CNN and the major broadcast networks.
On Thursday, as he struggled to save his candidacy in the New Hampshire primary, Mr. DeSantis openly regretted that initial media strategy, saying he should have tried to connect with news outlets beyond Fox News. Was.
“I should have just been blanketed, I should have gone to all the corporate shows, I should have gone to everything,” she said. told the radio host Hugh Hewitt. “I think we had an opportunity to do that coming out of the gate and reach a much broader range of people.”
Mr. DeSantis had ignored much of Florida’s local press on his way to becoming a popular governor in the state. But political experts have long warned that the presidential race, especially against a well-known opponent like Mr. Trump, may require a broader approach.
“The DeSantis campaign should be studied by future presidential campaigns as a ‘how not’ of press relations,” lis smith said, a Democratic strategist who oversaw Pete Buttigieg’s victory in Iowa four years ago. “His unnecessarily hostile attitude toward the press increased his weaknesses as a candidate.”
“He was given no grace,” Ms Smith said. “By the time they changed tactics, it was too late.”
When planning his race, Mr. DeSantis may also have miscalculated Mr. Trump’s staying power among Republican voters.
At the time, the governor was enjoying hours of Fox News coverage, while Mr. Trump was virtually banished from the network, an absence that lasted from November 2022 to March 2023. A series of criminal indictments thrust Mr Trump back into the spotlight. and helped revive his popularity within the Republican Party.
Mr. DeSantis was still featured on Fox News, including in a one-on-one debate with California Governor Gavin Newsom in November that drew an impressive 5.4 million viewers. But by the time the caucuses began, Mr Trump was again a regular presence on the channel. When the network hosted Mr. DeSantis for a live town-hall-style event in Iowa last week, it aired at 6 p.m.
Mr. Trump’s town hall, in accordance with terms set by the Trump campaign, received star billing in prime-time at 9 p.m., unlike the CNN debate in which Mr. DeSantis was participating.