A few hours later, he was having a friendly chat with Fox’s main correspondent in the White House.
On Twitter, the president trashed Fox’s liberal presenter of “The Five”, Juan Williams, as a “dummy” and called on other guests and guests for repeating “the worst of the democratic talking points.”
A few hours later, before returning home to Washington, he waited on an asphalt of the airport for Fox correspondent John Roberts, who arrived with the rest of the “press pool”, a rotation of journalists who took turns traveling with the president.
Trump motioned for Roberts to approach him, and they spoke briefly. As soon as the press corps boarded Air Force One, chief of staff Mark Meadows brought Roberts from the press booth to the president’s office. Roberts stayed and chatted for 30-45 minutes, according to three sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
After the landing of Air Force One, the direct relationship between Roberts and the president sparked speculation among other journalists. What were they talking about? And why didn’t Roberts’ lobby include other members of the “press pool” in the conversation?
“Trump is typically just looking at B.S. in these documents,” said a correspondent colleague. But the president’s interest in Roberts clashes with his chirping criticisms of Roberts’ employer.
For all the times Trump attacks Fox, especially for letting the Democrats on the air, he praises the network and promotes video clips from his shows even more often. Above all, what he wants is attention and affection.
While it is possible that Trump used the meeting to overcome his complaints, as he did on Twitter earlier in the day, Trump was said to be in a good mood. “He looked very friendly,” said one of the sources.
Trump also answered many questions from Roberts during the trip to the Ford plant, which has been revived to produce fans and PPE.
Obviously, the president can call whoever he wants, and few journalists would refuse the invitation.
But on the trip to Michigan, Roberts – a prominent journalist with decades of experience – was acting as a pool correspondent on behalf of all the major television networks. He did not send a report on the pool of his time with the president.
Some members of the White House press corps said that Roberts should have urged Trump to speak to the entire “press pool”.
“The expectation is that you work as a team and everything you do as part of the pool,” said one of the reporters.
These rules are taken seriously by the heads of the Washington office and other editorial leaders, as access to the president is highly valued. Presidents, including Trump, sometimes hold unofficial sessions on Air Force One and occasionally allow for quotations.
Roberts returned to the press booth before Air Force One returned to Andrews Air Force Base. According to the report on the pool shared with the news organizations, Trump greeted Roberts as he walked to Marine One for the helicopter flight to the White House.
Through a spokesman, Roberts said the wave may have been misunderstood. Roberts had asked the president to stand in a staking position of the camera and to comment, for the entire pool, about the shooting of an American naval air base in Corpus Christi, Texas, which according to the FBI was linked to terrorism. Roberts waved goodbye to the camera, and Trump waved goodbye, and made no comment.
On Friday morning, Trump posted two angry tweets about Fox. He said the network “should fire their fake Pollster.” The network polling unit is currently well regarded across the industry.
He then tweeted about former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who died in 2017, a year after being forced to abandon a sexual harassment scandal.
“I hope Roger A is looking down,” wrote Trump, “and looking at what happened to this once beautiful creation!”