Watching the second part of Fox News host Sean Hannity’s conversation with former president Donald Trump on Thursday night, I couldn’t help but notice that Hannity let a lot of false claims from Trump slide. I was not surprised by this, certainly; the reason that Trump grants so many interview to Hannity is that he knows that Hannity’s preferred mode of response to his claims is nodding.
But it did strike me that perhaps one reason that Hannity never endeavors to actually correct the record is that perhaps he doesn’t know how. He’s never really done it before! So, in the interest of both offering my assistance to Hannity and to ensure that his viewers have as accurate an understanding of the discussed subjects as possible, I thought it might be useful to create this draft script that Hannity could read on his program Friday night.
Good evening and welcome to “Hannity.”
Last night, we showed you the second part of my interview with President Trump. It has come to my attention that some of what the president said was inaccurate or misleading. Given this network’s commitment to journalistic integrity, it seemed incumbent upon me, then, to correct the record where necessary. After all, the last thing we want is for you, the viewer, to be misinformed.
With that in mind, here is some additional information about what Trump said.
- It is not the case, as Trump claimed, that the term “global warming” was abandoned in favor of “climate change” because the former term “wasn’t working too well.” In reality, it was Republican communications expert Frank Luntz who recommended the latter term to defuse concern about the problem.
- It is also not true that “years ago … they thought it was global cooling,” as both Trump and I claimed. In reality, that idea was a fringe claim that has been elevated not because it was the consensus at the time but because it serves as a rejoinder to the consensus now.
- It’s not the case that $85 billion worth of military equipment was “left behind” when the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan. First of all, the figure that’s been claimed was $83 billion. But second, that figure is vastly overinflated.
- While it is true that the U.S. “didn’t lose one soldier in 18 months,” it’s important to understand that this is largely because President Trump made a deal with the Taliban not to attack American forces in exchange for setting a timetable to withdraw.
- It’s not true, as Trump claimed, that crime in New York is “the worst we’ve ever had.” In fact, violent crime in New York City is far lower than in decades past and murders are down in the city this year.
- While it is true that “more people died under Biden than under me,” as Trump claimed about the coronavirus pandemic, that’s in part because Trump supporters were less likely to get vaccinated against the virus and, as a result, the per capita death toll in Trump-voting counties has consistently been higher than in Biden-voting ones.
- The flu pandemic a century ago was in 1918, not 1917.
- It’s not true that Trump recommended the military go to the Capitol before Jan. 6.
- It is not true that he sent the National Guard to Minneapolis during the unrest in 2020 “against the governor’s wishes.” In fact, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) made the first request.
- It is not true that Trump’s favorability numbers went up after New York’s attorney general announced a lawsuit against him; there is no way a valid poll could have been fielded between that announcement and our interview. It is also not true that his poll numbers went up in the wake of the search of Mar-a-Lago.
- Trump’s assertions that he “rebuilt” the military have been repeatedly identified as exaggerated.
Fox News regrets the errors.
Oh, one more, actually: While Trump claimed that he respects many people in the media, we were unable to confirm that assertion. We can confirm that, as he stated, he likes me, Sean Hannity, a lot.
[cut to commercial]