The end of the Trump-Fox romance
Trump’s exit from the White House, filled with kicking and screaming, could be preceded by a similarly messy breakup with Fox News. After four years of an oddly impassioned relationship between the two, the president has pulled the infamous Trump-dump to his biggest, most powerful fan club.
The last straw for Trump, who is known for his thin skin, was when Fox projected that President-elect Joe Biden would win the state of Arizona. During an election night “victory” speech, amid a slew of demonstrably erroneous claims about widespread voter fraud was a thinly-veiled shot at Fox for calling the Grand Canyon State. Fox would discredit themselves even further in Trump’s eyes when they called the election for Biden.
Strangely, there seems to be a difference of opinion on the network once the sun sets. During the day, Fox’s shows treat the election as if it is done and dusted, while at night, opinion hosts such as Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity are still following Trump down the election fraud rabbit hole.
.@FoxNews daytime ratings have completely collapsed. Weekend daytime even WORSE. Very sad to watch this happen, but they forgot what made them successful, what got them there. They forgot the Golden Goose. The biggest difference between the 2016 Election, and 2020, was @FoxNews!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2020
While it may seem the relationship between Fox and Trump has always been peachy, in fact, it’s really only been that way since he was elected; Fox bashed Trump throughout the 2016 race for the Republican nomination. At the time, owner of Fox Rupert Murdoch was explicit about his disdain for the steak salesman. Now, he is chummy with him. This 180 by Murdoch most likely came when he and former chairman of Fox News Roger Ailes considered what their viewership wanted: a more Trump-friendly channel.
Both parties held ulterior motives throughout their relationship. Trump used Fox to bolster his political standing as other mainstream outlets criticized him, whereas Fox used Trump to bolster their ratings. Trump-loving programming is a reliable cash-cow too profitable to give up. The network’s management is seemingly more than willing to sacrifice journalistic integrity to rack up a bit of extra cash; they always have been.
Trump’s media fan club now misses a gaping, Fox-sized hole. Outlets like One America News Network and Newsmax, two Fox wannabes, among others have rushed to capitalize on this Trump media power vacuum, and have already gotten Trump’s Twitter approval for their efforts.
After Jan. 20, and maybe even earlier, Trump and Fox News will have to go through post-relationship withdrawal. Fox will be left missing the days of ardently defending Trump through his innumerable controversies, wondering what to cover with a lack of drama. Trump, on the other hand, seems happy to move on. Rumors have spread he wants to start his own channel, even more boisterous and repudiating of the truth than Fox. This parting of ways could all be just to self-publicize his potential run in 2024 with no opposition.
Fox and Trump were undeniably interdependent over the past four years, and they’ll each hope the absence of the other doesn’t drive them into the mud.
Biden evaluates cabinet candidates
With the election now concluded, giving Biden the keys to the White House and ending Trump’s ambitions of extending his term, the new administration is focusing attention on filling the executive branch.
Biden has already made some of the more key White House staff selections.
Unlike his predecessor, Biden will likely fill the most diverse group of cabinet officials in American history. His transition team and former campaign staff was minority white, with people of color accounting for just over half of his staff.
Biden will also have to account for progressives in his party, who, through presidential runs and votes in Congress, have a fair amount of influence over the new administration. Resultantly, some posts will have to be given to more liberal members of the party.
Secretary of the Treasury is likely to be given to a progressive. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who ran against Biden in the primaries, is favored for the job. She released comprehensive economic plans throughout her campaign, and has shown interest in running the department.
On the other side of the political spectrum, Biden will also give posts to more moderate Republicans, probably at either the State Department or at the Pentagon. Sen. Mitt Romney could slot in as Secretary of State. Trump floated him for the job at the beginning of his tenure, however, he opted to choose former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson instead.
Biden’s cabinet appointments will take on added importance this time, for two key reasons.
Firstly, the prospect of a divided Congress, with Republicans in the Senate clogging up Democratic legislative efforts, forces the executive branch to be ultra-efficient in carrying out key policy proposals. Biden may have to resort to signing executive orders should Congress stall on passing legislation, the actions of which will be put in place by the appropriate department.
Secondly, the pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis places more importance on governance than ever. Each department will have to do its part in repairing the broken nation. Treasury and Health and Human Services will have to work in conjunction to limit the spread of COVID-19 while supporting individuals and businesses whose incomes have been cut. The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy will have to instate adequate measures to transition the country toward renewable sources of energy to limit carbon emissions that threaten the country’s future. These key crises will have to be addressed by each post. Biden must consider them carefully should he hope to fulfill his ambitious goals as president.
No matter who fills these positions, Biden’s cabinet will be one driven by candidates’ abilities, unlike the nepotism-fuelled advising team of the past four years. Having professionals appointed to roles in which they actually have expertise will be refreshing given the inexperience of many in Trump’s cabinet.