Sean Hannity said Monday he would not be joining Donald Trump on stage at his final campaign rally in Missouri, despite the president’s team billing him as a “special guest.”
Just 12 hours later, the Fox News host was on stage, acting as Trump’s hype-man by insulting real journalists — including his own co-workers — as “fake news.”
Hannity had earlier insisted he would only be at the rally in Cape Girardeau in a journalistic capacity. “I am covering final rally for my show,” he tweeted. “Something I have done in every election in the past.”
But as soon as Trump took the podium in Missouri for his third rally of the day, he summoned Hannity to join him. The Fox News host obliged, and immediately attacked his colleagues in the media, parroting one of Trump’s favorite lines.
“By the way, all those people in the back are fake news,” he said, referring to a pool of reporters, which included Fox News reporters. Hannity went on to offer an effusive endorsement for Trump: “The one thing that has made and defined your presidency more than anything else: Promises made, promises kept.”
The appearance highlighted the extent to which the right-wing network has acted as a mouthpiece for the White House, dispensing with any pretense of journalistic objectivity to actively stump for Trump ahead of Tuesday’s crucial vote.
Commentators noted that Hannity’s attacks on the press, during a divisive campaign in which a bomb was sent to CNN, included his own colleagues.
“I genuinely feel bad for the Fox reporters and producers who are at the rally,” tweeted CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter. “They're just trying to do their jobs. And a Fox star is insulting them.”
Hannity was not the only Fox News personality on stage; Jeanine Pirro made an appearance to explicitly instructed those gathered to vote Republican.
“If you like the America that he is making now, you’ve got to make sure you get out there tomorrow if you haven’t voted yet, everyone you know,” Pirro said. “Get them out there to vote for Donald Trump and all the people who are running for the Republican Party.”
Earlier, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh had warmed up the crowd in his hometown of Cape Girardeau, offering ominous warnings about a fifth column imperilling the United States.
“We are a great nation at risk in a dangerous world,” Limbaugh said. “And much of the risk we face is internal.”
He pushed back against the criticism that Republicans had sunk to new lows of racism during a campaign dominated by immigration.
“They say we’re divisive, but we’re not divisive,” Limbaugh said. “We’re defending an America that has strayed from our founding. Nothing to do with race. Nothing to do with gender. Nothing to do with any of these identity-political labels.”
Cover image: President Donald Trump greets talk show host Sean Hannity at a Make America Great Again rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on November 5, 2018. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)