Fox News has cut away from a briefing held by the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, during which she repeated Donald Trump’s refusal to accept defeat in the presidential election and doubled down on allegations of voter fraud, for which there is scant if any evidence.
Speaking to media on Monday night in her “personal capacity” during what she said was a campaign event at the Republican National Committee headquarters, McEnany said Republicans want “every legal vote to be counted, and every illegal vote to be discarded”, prompting the conservative Fox News network to stop broadcasting the briefing.
From the studio, host Neil Cavuto said: “Whoa, whoa, whoa – I just think we have to be very clear. She’s charging the other side as welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting. Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue to show you this.”
He added: “I want to make sure that maybe they do have something to back that up, but that’s an explosive charge to make, that the other side is effectively rigging and cheating. If she does bring proof of that, of course we’ll take you back. So far she has started saying, right at the outset – ‘welcoming fraud, welcoming illegal voting’. Not so fast.”
The decision to cut away was Cavuto’s, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the show.
Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News has shifted away from its loyalty to Trump over the past week, instead seeming in what appears to be closely co-ordinated messaging to warn its readers that Trump has lost the election despite his claims to the contrary.
Fox was one of the first news organisations to call the state of Arizona for Joe Biden.
Some senior Republican lawmakers have continued to refuse to recognise Biden as the election winner. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said on Monday that Trump was fully within his rights to look into alleged voting irregularities, and in a Senate speech did not acknowledge Biden as president-elect.
Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting system lacked the oversight and verification applied to in-person voting and seeking an emergency injunction to stop state officials from certifying Biden’s victory in the state.
The Trump campaign and Republicans have brought numerous lawsuits alleging election irregularities. Judges have already tossed out cases in Georgia and Michigan.