Criticism of President Donald Trump is ubiquitous on certain cable news networks, but it's not always a staple of Fox News programming. So when the longtime host of an afternoon show on Fox News, Neil Cavuto, recently lambasted Trump for muddying the "swamp" he vowed to drain, people took notice.
Specifically, Cavuto took on Trump's dependable decrying of the media for its supposed hyping of "fake news." Cavuto asked, "Is he the one giving them very real ammunition?" Based on the ensuing four minutes of Thursday's show content, Cavuto believes the answer is an unequivocal "yes."
"You didn't know about that $130,000 payment to a porn star. Until you did," Cavuto offered as his first bit of evidence, while footage of Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) played beside him. Trump's latest legal hire — former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani — dropped that bombshell revelation during an appearance Wednesday on Fox News with Sean Hannity. Prior to Giuliani's chat with Hannity, the president had consistently denied any knowledge of his lawyer Michael Cohen's hush money payment to Clifford for her silence on an alleged affair that occurred between her and Trump. The president has also vehemently denied that allegation.
"Not even 24 hours ago, you couldn't recall any of this," Cavuto blasted Trump, observing that the president's assurances that no campaign money was used to pay Cohen might seem suspect, given Trump's changing story.
Cavuto then demurred a tad, clarifying that he wasn't calling Trump a liar, but rather, "Let's just say, your own words on lots of stuff give me, shall I say, lots of pause." The Fox News host kicks off his next round of evidence with Trump's conflicting words — and later claims about his words — on Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. While Trump often said there was no evidence that Russia had interfere (Politifact awarded this "Lie of the year" for 2017), he later tried to say he'd never actually said that.
After outlining these inconsistencies, Cavuto said none of it necessarily made him "a Never Trumper, just always confused." As proof, Cavuto cited Trump's brag that he'd signed the biggest tax break into law, "when it wasn't." He flashes a photo of President Reagan, whose 1981 tax cuts are recognized by the Treasury Department as larger than Trump's. CNN reports that even President Obama was arguably responsible for bigger tax relief than Trump, given he made President Bush's tax cuts a permanent thing.
Cavuto also ripped Trump for humble-bragging that the new tax law would "cost [him] a fortune," when in fact, it's going "to help make [him] a bigger fortune." According to Noah Lanard at Mother Jones, Cavuto is correct. Not only did the tax cut lower the income rate for the wealthiest individuals from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, but it also created "pass-throughs" for certain businesses that tax profits at the individual rate. Those pass-throughs allow qualifying businesses to deduct 20 percent of their income, which would lower their personal tax rate to below 30 percent. As Lanard reports, almost all of Trump's 500 businesses that collectively comprise the Trump Organization are categorized as pass-throughs.
Next, Cavuto launched into the many, many former Trump administration officials who the president assured the public were not on their way out the door, when, in fact, they absolutely were. Those ousters include former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; former economic adviser Gary Cohn; former strategist Steve Bannon; and, lawyers Ty Cobb and John Dowd. In all their cases, Trump made public statements that all was well with staff in Trumpworld shortly before their departures.
Cavuto also dinged Trump for what the president has said "without ever correcting," including claims of massive voter fraud, "when there wasn't."
"I guess you're too busy draining the swamp to ever stop and smell the stink you're creating," Cavuto said toward the end of the segment. That's a pretty good summation of the Fox News host's entire point about Trump's failure to stand against the D.C. corruption he lambasted during the campaign.