President Donald Trump received some unwelcome news on Thursday as a Fox News poll showed him trailing Biden in reliably red states like Texas and Georgia, along with nine points behind in Florida.
Fox News is famously conservative, but Trump has routinely indicated that the network isn't flattering enough for him. He's encouraged his followers to jump ship from daytime programming at Fox News to the ultra-right One America News Network.
The President has even implied that he'd prefer Fox issue false numbers to paint him in a more flattering light.
Avoiding Trump's ire may be why a Thursday Fox News panel scrambled to dismiss the results of the poll shortly after it was released.
Host Bret Baier qualified the results by telling viewers that the election was too far off to begin taking the numbers seriously. He then introduced the segment's panel, which included Washington Times editor Charles Hurt.
Hurt stammered as he relayed a stream of excuses for why the poll isn't as foreboding for Trump as it seems.
"I think you gave a very good rundown on why some of these polls this early out are to be taken with a slight grain of salt, um, and I think that those caveats become even greater when you look around at the environment that we're looking at right now, where you have, you know, one of the reasons that people are reluctant to talk to pollsters has a lot to do with, you know, the toxic environment that we're in."
"And so with that caveat, I think it's important to also note that the campaign has just begun. Um, obviously, as anybody would note, you want to be ahead in the polls at all times, but the campaign has just begun, and when people look around and they see the lawlessness in the streets and they see we've just been through a pandemic, an economic collapse the likes of which this country has never seen before. It's going to be a full three, four, five month campaign before these issues start to get sorted out.
Hurt's first questionable claim comes with the assertion that Trump's reelection campaign has just begun.
"We're going to keep it better than ever before. And that is why tonight, I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as president of the United States. Thank you. I can promise you that I will never ever let you down. I won't. And I am profoundly thankful to my family."
Puzzingly enough, a year later—this month—the President said his sparsely attended Oklahoma rally was the real beginning of his campaign:
"We begin, we begin our campaign. Thank you. We begin our campaign and I just want to thank all of you, you are warriors."
It's more likely that Trump hoped for the Oklahoma rally to revive his campaign—but Fox News's own poll could suffice as an example that Team Trump has yet to reap the rewards of that effort.
What's more, Hurt seems to portray "lawlessness," an unfettered pandemic, and economic collapse as circumstances bedeviling Trump, but in reality, his plummeting poll numbers are attributed to Trump's own reactions to these.
According to Al Jazeera:
"Trump's words, tweets and actions during the...pandemic and its economic fallout—and now the unrest over the killing of [George] Floyd by a white police officer—cost him among almost all demographics."
People found the panel's attempts to redeem the poll numbers laughable.
People couldn't help but think Fox wouldn't be downplaying a poll for Biden if it was equally as bleak.
They also didn't take kindly to Hurt's assertion that we've "just been through a pandemic," when cases of the virus are still spiking nationwide.
The virus task force is set to give its first briefing in two months today.