Fox News hasn’t had presidential candidate Donald Trump on its network in months – and not since he announced a run for the Republican nomination – the result of a “soft ban” that’s been in place since he last appeared in September, according to a Thursday report.
There was a time when Trump was a regular fixture on cable’s highest-rated network, but now he’s run into a “brick wall” with Fox, according to a Semafor. Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, his main rival (as yet unofficial) candidate, Florida governor Ron Desantis, has been on Fox regularly. Others, like Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy, have made Republican presidential hopefuls a near-daily fixture on Fox, Semafor reported, citing Media Matters’ internal database.
“Everyone knows that there’s this ‘soft ban’ or ‘silent ban,'” said one source, characterized as “close to Trump,” who spoke with Semafor on background. “It’s certainly — however you want to say, quiet ban, soft ban, whatever it is — indicative of how the Murdochs feel about Trump in this particular moment.”
That may or may not have something to do with the lawsuit Fox is currently fighting against Dominion Voting Systems, which is suing the network for $1.6 billion in what’s seen by legal experts as a strong defamation case. Dominion has accused Fox of falsely spreading lies about the 2020 election on-air – even thought it knew the claims were unsubstantiated.
Trump’s most recent appearance on Fox News was back in September, in a conversation about the Mar a Lago raid. It was during that interview when he told Sean Hannity that a president could declassify a document by “thinking about it.”
Semafor cited a “Trump official” saying he would push to appear on the network as the presidential primary season starts heating up in the coming months. Another source told the website that the “soft ban” has been an “open secret” at the network for some time.
“The understanding is that they’re [Fox] not to have Trump on for an interview, because the Murdochs have made it pretty clear they want to move on from Trump … Fox is showing that by not having him on,” one Republican source told Semafor.