Oct 6, 2019

Trump turns to Breitbart in impeachment war

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

With the exception of a small band of true believers like Sean Hannity and Judge Jeanine Pirro, President Trump has grown disillusioned with Fox News and often complains the network doesn't have his back.

Why it matters: Trump still watches Fox religiously, but he views such wobbliness as a particular problem during tough times like impeachment, sources close to him say. Into this breach has stepped more fervently loyal outlets, like Breitbart News.

The website, often led by its Washington editor Matt Boyle and editor-in-chief Alex Marlow, has gone into 24-7 campaign mode against Trump's impeachment. A representative Breitbart headline: "While Democrats pursue impeachment, President Trump builds impressive record of accomplishments."

  • The president has been lapping up Breitbart's coverage — to such an extent that "Saturday Night Live" made fun of Trumpworld's Breitbart habit in their cold open last night. In a meeting with Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani pulls out a "Breitbart Office Poll" that "says 121% of people want Biden impeached."

The big picture: The entire Biden-Ukraine narrative began with "Secret Empires," a book by Breitbart's senior contributor Peter Schweizer. Ahead of the last election, Schweizer published "Clinton Cash," which portrayed Bill and Hillary Clinton as corrupt grifters and set the tone of some influential coverage in 2016. (Trump promoted Schweizer's book on Twitter yesterday.)

What we're seeing:

  • Trump has promoted Breitbart multiple times as a source of polling. In one of Trump's favored Breitbart polls — which bear no relation to public opinion — 97.83% of respondents say they "stand with President Trump" against impeachment.
  • Republican lawmakers have been using Breitbart as a key platform in their campaign against impeachment.
  • And it's not just ultra-conservative, Freedom Caucus types. Establishment Republicans including members of leadership like Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (who has given Breitbart multiple "exclusives") and Minority Whip Steve Scalise have been appearing on Breitbart's radio shows.
  • Senior White House official Stephen Miller will be appearing on Breitbart's radio show tonight.

Flashback: We're coming up on 2 years since Steve Bannon was forced out of Breitbart and publicly trashed by the president. The ultra-right-wing website spent some time on the outs from the White House as a result of Bannon's exile, but it's now back as one of Trump's go-to outlets.

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