2020 White House hopeful Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) says the Fox News Channel recently rebuffered an offer from his campaign to host him for a televised town hall — a claim the cable news network disputes.
In a Wednesday interview with CNN, Swalwell said he would “absolutely do a Fox town hall,” but “they told us we can’t have one which is a little bit confusing to us because they have given them to people who are polling at the same place as us.”
Swalwell, who is polling at a dismal 1% in several national surveys, told CNN that he found the rejection “frustrating” because Fox News was “bemoaning that the Democrats won’t do the debates” while rejecting his offer to appear. “I can only conclude that they are afraid to give me the opportunity,” said the California Democrat.
In a statement to CNN, a Fox News spokeswoman swatted down the report, saying the network is open to hosting Swalwell for a town hall in the future.
Swalwell’s remarks come one day after fellow presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) declared she turned down an invitation to appear on Fox News for a town hall, accusing the network of being “a hate for-profit ratchet.”
“A Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass,” Warren wrote in a Twitter thread. “Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet.”
“I won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates — especially when Fox will make even more money adding our valuable audience to their ratings numbers,” she continued. “Hate-for-profit works only if there’s profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet. It’s all about dragging in ad money — big ad money.”
Several Democrats, including fellow White House contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), have argued that appearing on Fox News is important to reach people who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 but may be looking for a change in 2020.
“To me, it is important to distinguish ‘Fox News’ from the many millions of people who watch Fox News,” the Vermont Independent said recently. “I think it is important to talk to Trump supporters and explain to them to what degree he has betrayed the working class of this country and lied during his campaign.”
Warren isn’t the only high-profile Democrat to refuse to work with Fox News. Earlier this year, Democrat National Committee chairman Tom Perez said he would not allow the network to host primary debates, arguing it couldn’t be trusted to “to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates.”
Meanwhile, some Democrats are still moving ahead with plans to appear on Fox News for a town hall. Presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will participate in a town hall on May 19th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST in Claremont, New Hampshire. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has said he is considering his own town hall on the network.