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When Trump needs a Friend, this is what 'Fox & Friends' is for

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- The movement away from President Trump had become a stampede.

Republican lawmakers from Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to lowly backbenchers dissociated themselves from the president for saying there were "very fine people" marching among the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.

Trump disbanded his corporate advisory panels after eight members quit in protest of his moral parallels between white supremacists and those who opposed them.

The two living former Republican presidents, military leaders and even the vice president issued statements making plain their differences with Trump. Condemnations poured in from the conservative prime minister of Britain and from Germany, where they know what comes of coddling Nazis.

On Wednesday morning, I entered the echo chamber, watching all three hours of "Fox & Friends" -- Trump's favorite show, to judge from his tweets -- to see if the hosts would defend Trump even after he aligned himself with white supremacists. It was a delicate task -- some parts of Fox News Channel had already gone wobbly, with Kat Timpf calling Trump's remarks "disgusting" -- but Trump's "Fox & Friends" friends gave it a try.

Host Steve Doocy began the 6 a.m. hour by saying Trump's real "mistake" was to take questions from reporters. He figured the president "was just trying to be very careful" in his remarks, and Doocy read out White House talking points ("The president was entirely correct ... ")

Host Todd Piro allowed that Trump's comments "may not have been the smartest," but said, "He could cure cancer tomorrow and other people in the media are going to attack him."

Another host, Abby Huntsman, joined in to say that although this was a "missed opportunity" for Trump to "stand up a little stronger" against hate groups, some people "are going to hate on this president" anyway.

The hosts tried mightily to change the subject from Trump's unconscionable defense of neo-Nazis to his claim that those taking down statues of "Confederate heroes" (Doocy's phrase) would soon attack George Washington.

"Hmm, interesting point there," said Huntsman, introducing her "panel" to "debate" this phony issue.

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