"Whoa, whoa, whoa," said anchor Neil Cavuto, adding: "Unless she has more details to back that up, I can't... continue showing you this."
Just like its weakening grip on the White House, the reins of Fox News appear to be slowly slipping from the sweaty, juvenile palms of the Trump administration. The historically right-leaning network has been cautiously aligning itself away from the "voter fraud" spiel-peddling administration over the past few months and more so in the days since the election. Even amid rumors of the soon-to-be-former president growing increasingly upset with the network, certain Fox News reporters seem inclined to drop the MAGA act and call the administration out on its baseless allegations and claims.
The latest to do so was anchor Neil Cavuto, who cut away from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany's remarks at a news conference Monday evening where she repeated Donald Trump's refusal to accept defeat in the presidential election. According to the Guardian, when speaking to media in her "personal capacity" during what she said was a campaign event at the Republican National Committee headquarters, McEnany doubled down on allegations that Democrats were inviting fraud and illegal voting; without any evidence as usual.
"There is only one party in America trying to keep observers out of the count room, and that party, my friends, is the Democrat Party," she said, reports The Washington Post. "You don’t oppose an audit of the vote because you want an accurate count... You take these positions because you are welcoming fraud and you are welcoming illegal voting." McEnany went on to say that Republicans want "every legal vote to be counted and every illegal vote to be discarded," which prompted the conservative Fox News network to stop broadcasting the briefing as host Cavuto jumped in with a "Whoa, whoa, whoa."
"I just think we have to be very clear that she’s charging the other side as welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting. Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this," he explained. "I want to make sure that maybe they do have something to back that up, but that’s an explosive charge to make, that the other side is effectively rigging and cheating. If she does bring proof of that, of course, we’ll take you back. So far she has started saying right at the outset — welcoming fraud, welcoming illegal voting. Not so fast."
Fox News cuts away from Kayleigh McEnany news conference after airing it for less than a minute.— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) November 9, 2020
Neil Cavuto: “I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this…She started saying right at the outset, [Democrats were] welcoming fraud, welcoming illegal voting. Not so fast." pic.twitter.com/1jn5jC2r5E
People familiar with the show's decision said that the call to cut away was made by Cavuto and not Fox's top brass. Yet, the close relationship the network has long enjoyed with the president has somewhat diminished in the weeks since Rupert Murdoch (whose family controls Fox News) reportedly began telling associates that the president would not be reelected. It was one of the first news organizations to call the state of Arizona for Joe Biden and even refuted the Trump campaign's claims that Republican poll watchers were barred from observing the counting.
On the other hand, Cavuto has been known to openly voice his criticism of Trump's outlandish claims before, including the time he strongly condemned the president's vigorous endorsement of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive drug for the coronavirus. "Mr. President, we don't work for you. I don't work for you," the host said on air last year. "My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you — just report on you." However, Fox News' failing loyalty towards the president is said to have upset avid Trump fans who have been targeting some of Fox's news personalities online, in emails, and in phone calls for appearing not to back the Republican candidate.