Donald Trump, the perennial Fox News critic, now says he believes the network is not only unfavorable to him, but too favorable to Marco Rubio.
“They’re in love with Rubio. I have no idea why, but they are in love with Rubio,” Trump said in an interview with Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily on Thursday.
Trump also accused the network of protecting Rubio after his lackluster performance in the New Hampshire Republican primary debate earlier this month.
“They are in love with Rubio and it’s amazing to me, and after he cratered in the debate, they protected him,” Trump said.
Trump’s criticisms belie the fact that many of the network’s anchors and contributors have been critical of Rubio’s campaign and his performance in the debate. It also overlooks the fact that Trump has had more appearances on the network than any other candidate.
But in portraying the network as pro-Rubio, Trump is once again seeking to capitalize on the far-right’s frustrations with the GOP establishment and its pundits, several of whom appear regularly on Fox. As CNNMoney reported in January, many hard-right conservatives have come to view Fox News as the voice of that establishment.
Trump has been an outspoken critic of Fox News ever since he began criticizing network host Megyn Kelly in the wake of the first Republican primary debate last August. His war with the network peaked in late January, when he skipped the network’s second debate.
Nevertheless, Trump acknowledged that he and Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman and CEO, are friends. But he was quick to note that that hasn’t translated into favorable coverage.
“Roger Ailes and I like each other, but he doesn’t do anything for me. That I can tell you. He certainly doesn’t do anything,” Trump said. “In one way, he’s very professional, he won’t lift his finger to help me. Roger Ailes will not lift his finger to help me. Which is fine, I mean he’s a professional and maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, but I get treated very badly by Fox.”
Trump added, “I do like Roger, he’s a friend of mine, but he’s a friend of mine that won’t do anything for me — so I don’t know if that’s called a friend.”
In the same interview, Trump lashed out at Rupert Murdoch, whose media empire includes Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. He cast doubt on the accuracy of an NBC/WSJ national poll that showed him trailing Ted Cruz by two points, and said it was a “Rupert Murdoch hit.”