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Fox News hints to Trump bombing Syria could distract from Comey book

Trump’s biggest cheerleaders at Fox News are trying to help him figure out how to get the attention off James Comey’s devastating new book.

By Eric Boehlert - April 13, 2018
Donald Trump

Implying there might be a way for Trump to knock former FBI Director James Comey’s damaging memoir out of the headlines, a Fox News host suggested bombing Syria might do the trick.

“If the president, and France, and the UK decide to strike Syria, don’t you think that story would be a bigger story than Comey’s book that’s released on Tuesday?” asked Ainsley Earhardt of “Fox & Friends.”

Viewing a U.S. military attack, where innocent civilians in Syria would almost certainly be killed, through the prism of helping the White House with domestic optics is certainly callous and bizarre.

But the “Wag the Dog” strategy is even more troubling knowing that these days, Trump takes his policy cues less often from senior White House advisers, and more often from cable television wake-up hosts.

Fox News talkers know that and increasingly are making direct pleas to the president to heed their cable TV counsel.

“Aides sometimes plot to have guests make points on Fox that they have been unable to get the president to agree to in person,” the Washington Post noted recently. A senior administration official said that Trump “will listen more when it is on TV.”

And this week a Fox News guest actually looked directly into the camera in order to address Trump, urging him to wage war in Syria.

Two days later, Trump announced on Twitter that missiles “will be coming.”

Meanwhile, Fox News seems torn with how to deal with the Comey book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” which portrays Trump as “untethered to truth,” and someone who runs his presidency like a mob boss.

On the one hand, Fox hosts and guests are dutifully joining in with the GOP campaign to attack and belittle Comey, trying to portray him as a fraud and a jealous disgruntled former employee.

One Friday guest denounced Comey as “very disturbed” and someone who “should be sitting in a prison somewhere.”

And yet as Earnhardt’s query suggests, some at Fox are leery about the avalanche of coverage Comey is receiving, as the former FBI chief and lifelong Republican prepares to launch his national book campaign and trash Trump at every stop.

At Fox, killing people in Syria represents a viable option to distract from the Comey tell-all.

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