9 times Donald Trump repurposed Fox News segments into his own personal opinions


Now that Fox News has indefinitely suspended Andrew Napolitano — the judge and boisterous on-air personality responsible for one of President Donald Trump's more damaging claims about wiretapping — it's clear that the conservative news network is starting to grapple with the fact that anything said on its air could end up becoming the official position of the president of the United States. 

Indeed, the Napolitano was just one of several incidents in which Trump took one of their right-leaning — often questionably sourced — news segments and turned it into a policy position with much broader implications.

Here are eight other times that Trump appears to have formed opinions, and sometimes gone as far as proposing policy, based on info gleaned from Fox News:

Flag burning

Just a few days after his historical election upset in the general election, Trump tweeted that he wanted to either jail or revoke the citizenship of anyone who burned the American flag.

While the flag burning comment may have seemed like an absurdly escalated throwback to a stale political debate from the mid-2000s, for Fox News viewers it made perfect sense.

As ABC News' Katherine Faulders pointed out at the time, Trump's tweet came just moments after a Fox News morning segment on student flag burning.

Chicago homicides

Not one week after taking the oath of office, Trump tweeted that he would "send in the feds" to stop violence in Chicago. 

To justify his call for martial law, Trump cited some statistics about homicide in Chicago that would have looked familiar to anyone who had tuned in to the previous hour's broadcast of the O'Reilly Factor on Fox News.

Chelsea Manning

Despite Trump's self-professed "love" for WikiLeaks, Trump lashed out at one of the organization's most notorious whistleblowers in January, calling her an "ungrateful TRAITOR" and saying she called Obama a "weak leader."

Wherever could he have gotten that language from?

U.C. Berkeley protests

After a tumultuous protest at University of California Berkeley led the campus to cancel a planned speech by conservative provocateur and child-rape apologist Milo Yiannopoulos, Trump took to twitter to threaten the school's federal funding.

Unsurprisingly, that tweet came just shortly after another early morning segment on Fox and Friends, in which conservative commentator Todd Starnes urged the president to issue an executive order revoking the school's federal funding.


Russia's annexation of Crimea has been a bit of a weak spot for the president, whose 2016 campaign is under federal investigation for its alleged ties to Russia and who famously flubbed a response on the campaign trail about Russia's activity in the region. So when the thought leaders over at Fox and Friends pointed out that the invasion of Crimea happened during the Obama administration, Trump couldn't help but echo their poignant observation.

New York Times writer Sopan Deb was quick to note the genesis of the tweet.

National debt

In late February, Trump criticized the media for not reporting that the national debt had decreased in his first month. 

As PolitiFact pointed out, the small fluctuation in the national debt is essentially a short-term fluke that had nothing to do with Trump. But still Trump felt that the media had ignored the important point, which is ironic, because shortly before Trump's tweet, 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain made the exact same point on Fox News.

Guantanamo Bay

Earlier this month, Trump tweeted that "122 vicious prisoners" had returned to the battlefield after being "released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo." 

He was apparently quite proud of the tweet, as he tweeted it again from the official @POTUS account.

There was just one problem: It wasn't true. According to PolitiFact, of the 122 released Guantanamo Bay detainees who were determined to have re-engaged in terrorist activity, 113 were released during the George W. Bush administration. Trump appears to have inferred that the releases had all happened under the Obama administration after the figure was presented without context on Fox and Friends.

U.S. attorneys

On March 10, Trump asked for the resignations of all 46 U.S. attorneys across the country who were holdovers from the Obama administration. The decision appeared to contradict previous promises the administration had made to some of those U.S. attorneys, prompting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan Preet Bharara to reject Trump's call. The administration fired him instead.

Why the change of heart? It's unclear. But as the New York Times pointed out when first reporting the story, Trump's decision came the morning after Fox News host Sean Hannity implored Trump to "purge" his administration of Obama-era holdovers, specifically citing Bill Clinton's decision to call for the resignation of all U.S. attorneys upon his taking office.