Fox News' Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson distance themselves from Trump

Martin Pengelly in New York
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Luis M Alvarez/AP</span>
Photograph: Luis M Alvarez/AP

Donald Trump continued to gravitate towards his new rightwing media allies at TV channels One America Network and Newsmax on Tuesday, even as heavyweight supporters Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and Rush Limbaugh distanced themselves from the president’s attempts to overturn his election defeat by Joe Biden.

On Fox News on Monday, Ingraham said: “Unless the legal situation changes in a dramatic and unlikely manner, Joe Biden will be inaugurated on 20 January.”

Carlson claimed “the 2020 election was not fair”, but admitted Trump had lost it.

On his radio show, Limbaugh attacked Trump’s lawyers in Pennsylvania, led by Rudy Giuliani, for failing to provide any evidence to back claims of voter fraud in the state.

“You announce massive bombshells,” he said, “then you better have some bombshells.”

On Tuesday morning, Trump pinned Carlson’s monologue to his Twitter page. But he also retweeted a string of messages by Randy Quaid. In one, the actor echoed Carlson’s claims about trust in election infrastructure, demanding “an in-person-only-paper ballot re-vote”.

“Are you listening, Republicans?” Trump tweeted.

But in another message, shot in extreme close-up and flashing light and spoken in bizarrely hammy tones, Quaid quoted an old Trump tweet: “Fox News daytime ratings have completely collapsed. Weekend daytime, even worse. Very sad to watch this happen.

“But they forgot … they forgot what made them successful. What got them there. They forgot the golden goose. The only difference between the 2016 election and 2020 is Fox News.”

Trump has made many such claims about Fox News’ failings. Fox News has disputed his claims about ratings. On Tuesday, a spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One America News and Newsmax are devoted to supporting Trump. With a move into television among Trump’s possible post-White House plans, both are increasingly under the spotlight.

Newsmax has enjoyed ratings growth and mainstream attention, including a Wall Street Journal report which said Trump allies had considered a buyout.

OAN remains a fringe operator but on Monday, the Daily Beast reported that one host, Christina Bobb, had been working on the Trump team’s legal challenges.

“Christina is an attorney and has helped with some legal work in her personal capacity and not on behalf of OAN,” Jenna Ellis, a Trump adviser, told the Beast.

Ellis made her own headlines on Monday. Speaking to MSNBC, she said: “President Trump won by a landslide.”

“Take a pause,” host Ari Melber interjected. “If you make false statements, you don’t run roughshod. You made a false accusation.”

Trump lost Georgia by around 12,000 votes, Pennsylvania by around 80,000 and Michigan by more than 150,000. Biden won the national popular vote by 6m and the electoral college by 306-232. On Monday, Trump allowed the transition to proceed but continued to make baseless claims of fraud and insist he would be proved the winner.

Trump is certainly suffering one landslide defeat: in election-related lawsuits. According to the Democratic elections lawyer Marc Elias, the president has won one such case – and lost 35.