Fox News host Laura Ingraham says if the Republican Party remains focused on populist messaging put forth by former President Trump, it is likely to have success in future elections and will be in a strong position to take back the White House in 2024.
In an interview with The Hill, Ingraham, who is marking five years hosting a prime-time opinion show on Fox News, deflected a question about Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the two Republicans seen as the front-runners for the GOP’s White House nomination, to say that no matter what happens in the primary, the Republican Party will be about populism.
“I think the future of the party is rooted in populism,” Ingraham said. “You can call it America First populism, or just populism, but it’s going to be a type of economic nationalism and pragmatic policy making that is long overdue in Washington.
“The American people are becoming more impatient and frustrated that America is getting weaker and they’re getting poorer week after week, month after month,” she added, moving to a theme familiar from her nightly broadcasts.
Ingraham, who hosts “The Ingraham Angle” at 10 pm weeknights on Fox News, is known for her support of Trump. During the interview, she criticized the establishment wing of the GOP as led by former President George W. Bush in the 2000s.
“The days of the Bush/Cheney open borders, endless wars, globalism … all of that proved to be a complete failure,” she said. And those who think the GOP might return to that style of a party are fooling themselves, she suggested.
“This idea that the old establishment dinosaur-like GOP is going to come lumbering back to life … it’s over,” Ingraham said.
In text messages to former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Ingraham expressed deep concerns about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and what it could do to Trump’s legacy.
“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” the Fox News star said on one text. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
Ingraham now argues, however, that the House select panel on the Jan. 6 attack has hurt Democrats and is largely disconnected from Americans.
She suggested the Democrats on the panel and the two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), represent an old-fashioned establishment view divorced from the populism fueling the right.
And she argued all the hearings on Jan. 6 missed the fact that more voters are concerned about inflation and the economy.
“It was a massive miscalculation on the part of the Democrats, the two never Trumpers on the committee, to believe that concern about the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6 was somehow going to swamp concerns about economic survival for American families,” she said. “Again, it illustrates the complete disconnect between the Washington elites and regular America.”
Here are some more excerpts of The Hill’s interview with Ingraham. Questions and answers have been edited for grammar, clarity and length.
Q: Why is Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter significant and how do you expect it might affect our discussions on politics?
“I’m of the view that more speech is always better, not that I love everything people tend to say about me or the show. I’m a firm believer in the First Amendment and that it protects political speech absolutely … It’s very tricky how this ends up getting ‘moderated.’ When companies are as big as these, the argument can be that they act as proxies for the government. One person’s disinformation is the truth, the other person’s truth is disinformation. It would have to be done very, very carefully and I’m not sure it’s really possible. Except for true intentions of violence, online abuse, etc. … I do believe, political speech, you need to be very careful about censoring, left, right, center, any of it.”
Q. How different would our political climate be if Fox News didn’t exist?
“Look, I grew up with three networks. I think more voices are better. When people say ‘well, it’s gotten very polarized’ … as compared to what? When three organizations controlled the news flow in American homes every night? I think the American people tend to do better with more information. Fox’s dominance in the ratings indicates there was a massive void and vacuum that Roger Ailes saw along with Rupert Murdoch and decided that void needed to be filled with compelling programming and new voices … a lot of people just want to go to a place where they’ re views are not disrespected minute by minute.”
Q: What are your conversations like with Fox’s top leaders like [Fox News Media CEO] Suzanne Scott and [President of News] Jay Wallace. How often do executives at the company provide you with feedback and vice versa?
“I’m not going to share my conversations with the leadership of Fox but what I will say is they have an enormous amount of respect for their talent and have been great at nurturing talent through the years … Someone is always looking over your shoulder when you’re in cable news, I don’t care what network you work for. To dominate the ratings and to bring in the revenue they have is incredibly impressive.”
Q: You and a number of other top Fox personalities have been hosting town hall style events with voters in the run up to the midterms. What are the functions of those events and what would you say is the place of a cable news host in the dynamic of an election more generally?
“I personally love a live audience dynamic. It brings a special energy to programming. You see the candidates in a different way when they’re in a live setting and for me it challenges me to be a better host.”
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