A Fox News host tried to shield Donald Trump from criticism after claiming he had been "ambushed" during a televised town hall event during which he was asked basic questions about running the country.
Laura Ingraham, the host of Fox New's Ingraham Angle, made the comments on Tuesday night.
"The president loves mixing it up with everybody, but this is an ambush," Ms Ingraham said.
The town hall included questions from "undecided voters" in Pennsylvania, including some who had voted for Mr Trump in 2016.
During her Fox News segment, Ms Ingraham suggested the Democratic National Convention "might as well have put the whole thing on" before airing a heavily edited clip showing the most aggressive questions asked of Mr Trump during the event.
In one clip, a man asks Mr Trump "why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus?"
Because Ms Ingraham's production team chose to edit out the context of the man's question, he comes off as bullying and unfair.
However, the details the man gave prior to asking his question sheds light on why he's frustrated; he is a former supporter of Mr Trump's who suffers from diabetes. Because of his health condition, he is especially at risk of serious illness or death if he were to become infected with the coronavirus.
"I’m a conservative, pro-life and diabetic. I’ve had to dodge people who don’t care about social distancing and wearing face masks,” he said. “I thought you were doing a good job with the pandemic response until about May 1st. Then you took your foot off the gas pedal. Why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus?”
In another clip, Ms Ingraham shows a woman asking Mr Trump why he doesn't support a national mandate for face mask usage and asks why he doesn't wear them more often himself.
Another woman asked if he plans to include protections for pre-existing conditions into any healthcare plan he intends to use to supplant the Affordable Care Act.
Ms Ingraham's segment did not include Mr Trump's answers to the questions.
Hasan Piker, a leftist political commentator and former Young Turks host, claimed that Mr Trump's fear of answering to the American public will make any interaction seem hostile.
"If a president is afraid of his own people, any opportunity to be in front of them can turn into an ambush," he wrote.
Erick Fernandez, a journalist, took aim at the network and at Ms Ingraham for their presentation of the event.
"Lmao Laura Ingraham is mad that these voters weren't licking Trump's boot and called him out on his incompetent Covid-19 response, so she calls it an 'ambush,'" he wrote. "Let it not be lost that as the lower third calls this town hall an 'ambush,' they go to clips of questioning from two Black women because Fox News is white nationalist propaganda."
Ms Ingraham is an open supporter of Mr Trump and frequently uses her show to defend the president. Her influence appears to extend beyond her television show, as she attended a private meeting with the president and a pair of doctors who reportedly used the occasion to turn Mr Trump onto the drug hydroxychloroquine.
Mr Trump's performance during the town hall drew expectantly mixed reviews - his critics claim he stumbled through the questions and his defenders believe he had a strong showing, as always - but Ms Ingraham's attempt to frame the event as a hostile environment for the president suggests even those within Trump World may have been underwhelmed by his answers.
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