There is a growing divide at Fox News between opinion hosts like Sean Hannity, who have tended to be ardent supporters of President Trump, and straight-news hosts like Shepard Smith, who have increasingly offered tough reporting on the president and his administration.
It looks like we now know which side Neil Cavuto is leaning toward.
Cavuto, the host of Your World With Neil Cavuto, is something of a hybrid at Fox News. Though he readily offers opinions on his show, he’s also a veteran business journalist and tends to play things down the middle. But on Thursday, Cavuto blasted Trump over his habit of spreading falsehoods, the latest being the $130,000 hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
“Let me be clear, Mr. President. How can you drain the swamp if you’re the one that keeps muddying the waters? You didn’t know about the $130,000 payment to a porn star until you did,” Cavuto said. “You insist that money from the campaign or campaign contributions played no role in this transaction. Of that you’re sure. The thing is, not 24 hours ago, sir, you couldn’t recall any of this. And you seemed very sure.”
Cavuto spent four minutes outlining falsehoods Trump has pushed during his time in office, including claiming there was no Russian interference in the election (there was), and stating his tax cuts were the largest in U.S. history (they weren’t) and that his tax bill would personally cost him a fortune (it will likely make him much wealthier).
Despite the lengthy list of falsehoods, Cavuto stopped short of calling the president a liar and denied being a “Never Trumper,” a term used by conservatives who don’t support Trump or his administration.
“I’m not saying you’re a liar,” Cavuto said. “I guess you’re too busy draining the swamp to ever stop and smell the stink you’re creating. That’s your doing. That’s your stink, Mr. President, that’s your swamp.”
Catch Neil's latest Common Sense pic.twitter.com/JdGCX4WmjF
— Neil Cavuto (@TeamCavuto) May 3, 2018
Cavuto’s commentary comes after former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, acting as Trump’s personal attorney, revealed on Fox News that the president knew about a $130,000 payout to Daniels by lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. The president had previously denied knowing anything about the payments or allegations he had a sexual relationship with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Cliffords.
Giuliani also revealed Trump paid Cohen back through a monthly retainer, adding that it “had nothing to do with the campaign.” But in a later interview on Fox & Friends, Giuliani appeared to explicitly link the payment to the 2016 presidential election.
“Imagine if that came out on Oct. 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton,” Giuliani said. “Cohen didn’t even ask. Cohen made it go away. He didn’t even ask.”
Admission (self-goal) by #Giuliani on Fox and Friends connecting Stormy Daniels payment to the election-campaign:
“Imagine if that came out on October 15th 2016 in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton"
Then says Cohen did what he needed to do to make it go away pic.twitter.com/ZMApG8S0ZC
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) May 3, 2018
On Friday morning, Giuliani was still doing damage control over his series of potentially damaging interviews. In a new interview with NBC News, Giuliani said Trump didn’t know until recently that the money he paid to Cohen was partly a repayment for the $130,000 in hush money that went to Daniels.
“I don’t think the president realized he paid him back for that specific thing until we made him aware of the paperwork,” Giuliani said, adding that Trump paid Cohen a total of $420,000, which he claimed covered a number of fees and expenses. Giuliani didn’t offer further details.