Fox News publicly rebuked Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro after the network on-air hosts joined President Trump speaking on stage at a Missouri campaign rally Monday evening.
“Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” the network said in a statement to TheWrap on Tuesday. “We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”
A rep for the network declined to elaborate on what disciplinary actions the channel might have taken against its biggest ratings draw or the host of the weekend “Justice With Judge Jeanine.”
Hannity — who explicitly promised he would not campaign with Trump on stage in a tweet before the event — later clarified that the onstage moment had not been planned.
“What I said in my tweet yesterday was 100% truthful. When the POTUS invited me on stage to give a few remarks last night, I was surprised, yet honored by the president’s request,” said Hannity in a tweet. “This was NOT planned.”
In his original Tweet, Hannity had echoed the sentiments of his employer, saying that he would only be broadcasting his normal show from the rally.
“In spite of reports, I will be doing a live show from Cape Girardeau and interviewing President Trump before the rally. To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the President,” he said. “I am covering final rally for my show. Something I have done in every election in the past.”
In his remarks on stage, Hannity also publicly disparaged his colleagues in the press corps at the back of the rally.
“By the way, all the people back there are fake news,” he said as Trump smiled along. The line prompted a round of audience booing.