In what may seem like a redux of the post-2020 election period that landed Fox News in hot legal waters, Trump supporters and MAGA influencers are once again raging at the conservative cable giant.
In November 2020, MAGA world’s main grievance was the network’s early Arizona election call for Joe Biden, which prompted Fox News to freak out when disgruntled viewers bolted for fringe-right outlets willing to promote election denialism. The network’s efforts to boost its sagging ratings eventually cost it $787.5 million.
And now the angry MAGA mob is calling for Fox’s head over the network’s shocking decision to fire top-rated host Tucker Carlson, arguably the most influential voice in the conservative movement and a GOP kingmaker. (Also, yes, a far-right nationalist, Jan. 6 conspiracy theorist, anti-vaxxer, Putin apologist, and proponent of the racist “Great Replacement” theory.)
While much of the fury has been directed at Fox as a company, MAGA backers have found an easy target to savage in particular: Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade, who was tapped to temporarily take over Carlson’s 8 p.m. slot. (For the time being, a rotating slate of guest hosts will anchor the hour until a permanent replacement is announced.)
Hours after Fox fired Carlson, Kilmeade tweeted to his followers to “tune in tonight at 8 pm for a big surprise on Fox!!!” It didn’t take long for Trump supporters to inundate his post with angry replies, such as “GO FUCK YOURSELF!” Kilmeade would soon delete the tweet. (Another one promoting his appearance, however, was similarly bombarded with irate comments from pissed-off conservatives.)
But it wasn’t just random right-wing media consumers blasting Kilmeade. Several prominent Trumpworld figures torched the veteran Fox host for daring to take the right-wing star’s place.
“‘Hard no’ @briankilmeade, you Never Trump sock puppet,” former Trump White House trade adviser Peter Navarro tweeted on Monday. “Your midget feet won’t fit @TuckerCarlson big shoes in this lifetime. Cut the @foxnews cord now.”
Navarro, who is currently facing charges for defying the Jan. 6 committee’s subpoena, later doubled down.
“BTW, this is why @briankilmeade is such a cowardly scumbag,” he wrote. “An honorable man would have declined to sit in for @TuckerCarlson the very first night of the firing, but no, the biggest Never-Trumper at @foxnews this side of @karlrove went for the carcass.”
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Navarro also made a Monday night appearance on former Fox News host Eric Bolling’s Newsmax show, which just so happens to air at the same time as Carlson’s ex-program. Feeding directly into Newsmax’s shameless attempt to profit from Carlson’s ouster, he pronounced Bolling the new king of 8 p.m. because Fox is now “a Never-Trump nest of incompetent puppet heads.”
Bolling dutifully replied that Newsmax will “stay conservative” and is “not going to move to the center-left like Fox is doing.”
Navarro wasn’t alone in questioning Kilmeade’s loyalty to Trump while lambasting him for having the temerity of taking Carlson’s seat. (Of course, the irony here is that private texts and emails show Carlson insisting he “passionately” hated Trump and wanted him to go away after the 2020 election because he was a “destroyer.”)
“Paul Ryan is an advisor for Ron DeSantis and Brian Kilmeade is the biggest DeSimp at Fox News,” failed congressional candidate and anti-Muslim activist Laura Loomer posted. “Another reason why I’ll never vote for DeSantis: The worst people in media and elected office support him. It’s the sewer of endorsements.”
Trump-boosting GOP consultant Alex Bruesewitz also used Team Trump’s current war with the Florida governor to take a shot at Kilmeade. “Fox is having the Zelensky Loving/anti-Trump/pro-DeSantis 2024 Brian @kilmeade host Tucker’s slot tonight,” he tweeted. “Could Fox be any more OUT OF TOUCH with the Republican base?! Paul Ryan and the Murdochs have DESTROYED FOX NEWS!”
Steve Bannon, the former Trump strategist recently sentenced to four months in prison for defying the Jan. 6 committee, took issue with Kilmeade breezing past Carlson’s termination while opening up his show. And in typical Bannon fashion, he tied Fox’s firing of the far-right host to globalism.
“LMAO—Kilmeade gives Tucker 9 total seconds of ‘thanks for the memories,’”Bannon wrote on the MAGA social-media site Gettr. “The Murdochs are Foreigners that Hate MAGA.”
Appearing on fellow pro-Trump podcaster Charlie Kirk’s show on Tuesday, Bannon also lamented that their anti-Ukraine message wouldn’t “seep into a more mainstream audience” anymore, blaming it specifically on “foreigner” Lachlan Murdoch.
Other notorious MAGA bro accounts took aim at Fox Corp. board member Paul Ryan, claiming the former House speaker was responsible for picking “fellow Never Trumper D-Bag Brian Kilmeade to fill in for Tuckers [sic] time slot.”
Additionally, the online Trump brigade made it known that they find Kilmeade to be just plain old boring.
“Brian Kilmeade takes over for ‘Fox News Tonight’ in replace of Tucker Carlson,” conservative blogger Collin Rugg tweeted. “Great show if you are wanting to fall asleep. Fox News is dead.”
A writer for the far-right conspiratorial site The Gateway Pundit, meanwhile, wrote that Kilmeade “is about as interesting as a room-temperature glass of milk” before claiming “[m]illions of people across the country scrambled to get their remote controls” after the Fox & Friends star kicked off Carlson’s old hour.
But perhaps the harshest insult was delivered by the pseudonymous Twitter troll Catturd.
“‘Can’t wait to hear Brian Kilmeade’s monologue tonight!’ Said no one ever,” the infamous MAGA shitposter wrote.
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