President Donald Trump zeroed in on two U.S. media outlets Sunday morning, appearing to threaten action against the satirical “Saturday Night Live” and pressuring Fox News to bring back a host widely condemned for her comments about a Muslim congresswoman.
Trump’s string of tweets fits his broader strategy of publicly railing against coverage he dislikes and propping up media personalities who support him. The comments could raise more questions about the president’s warm relationship with Fox, which at times has helped to drive White House messaging.
In a tweet Sunday morning after hours after a rerun episode of the NBC sketch comedy show ran, Trump called it “truly incredible” that “shows like Saturday Night Live … can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of ‘the other side.'” He said it is “like an advertisement without consequences.”
“Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this? There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia!” he wrote.
It is unclear exactly what action Trump is threatening against the show. He previously suggested that his administration would look into NBC’s network license due to its coverage. However, the FCC does not appear to have the authority to do so, as it licenses individual stations rather than networks.
NBC declined to comment on the president’s tweet. (Disclosure: “Saturday Night Live” airs on NBC, which is owned by CNBC’s parent company NBC Universal).
Shortly after he knocked a network that has frequently covered him critically, Trump publicly stood up for a TV personality who staunchly backs him. He tweeted in support of Jeanine Pirro, a Fox host who was widely condemned last week for comments that critics considered anti-Muslim. Her show, “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” was replaced on Saturday with no explanation.
“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” the president wrote. “The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.”
He went on to write that Fox should “stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country.” Trump added that the network should “keep fighting” for Pirro and Tucker Carlson, whose show has lost advertisers following the release of comments from years old radio interviews that critics considered misogynistic.
“They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!” Trump said of Fox.
Trump’s defense of Pirro comes only days after 49 people were killed and dozens were wounded in shootings at New Zealand mosques.
On March 9, Pirro suggested that Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and Muslim, is not loyal to the Constitution because she wears a hijab.
“Think about it: Omar wears a hijab,” she said on her show. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”
Fox has said it “strongly” condemns Pirro’s comments. The remarks “do not reflect” the network, Fox added.
Pirro explained her comments further a night after she made them. In a statement, she said that “of course because one is a Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution.”
Fox did not immediately respond to a request to comment on Trump’s Sunday tweets.