Bret Baier’s Fox News interview of House speaker candidates set for Monday has been nixed after the participants pulled out.
Baier confirmed the cancellation on the Fox broadcast.
Baier recounted the status of U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern’s declaration of candidacy. He reported that Fox News planned for Hern’s declaration and to hold the news of his entrance into the competition.
“Hern was expected to be a declared candidate by close of business today so we planned for the three of them to sit together […] Monday on Capitol Hill,” Baier said. “That’s where it stood as of yesterday. Today, this morning, there was some kind of leak on Capitol Hill […] with some bizarre stories and weird reporting that I was going to be moderating a debate privately for the Republican caucus.”
Baier also reported pressure from other members on the three potential candidates to not participate in the debate before talking to those members. The show will go on Monday with some “interesting guests” booked.
“I think the word debate has scared folks over the past couple of days,” Baier concluded. “And we’re hoping to use a different word going forward.”
The program, which was announced Friday, would have taken place between Republican Reps Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Steve Scalise (Louisiana). Hern (Oklahoma) hadn’t been confirmed. Candidates Jordan and Scalise agreed not to participate according to multiple reports cited by Forbes.
Hern wrote of his status decision on declaring his candidacy on X, and he suggested an alternative for the joining interview.
“I still haven’t made a decision on my candidacy for speaker, but I know one thing for sure. I will not be participating in the televised debate,” he said. “We need to make this decision as a conference, not on TV. The Republican conference needs a family discussion.”
The “joint interview” was set for Monday night’s edition of “Special Report” at 6 p.m. ET, the night before the vote to elect the next House speaker after Kevin McCarthy was ousted in a vote spurred by Matt Gaetz.
According to Fox News, Baier intended to “press the congressmen on who should be the next Speaker of the House and discuss the issues facing Congress and the Republican party going forward.”
Following McCarthy’s historical ouster from his position with a vote of 216-210, Scalise and Jordan both declared their desire for the role left open, while Hern has not yet publicly declared a formal bid for the vacancy.
In August Baier co-moderated the first GOP presidential debate with Martha MacCallum, which scored 12.8 million viewers.