In the world of conservative politics, all eyes are on Texas right now, as Donald Trump continues his multi-state comeback tour with a visit to the US-Mexico border.
But despite loads of hype ahead of the event, the reliably pro-Trump Fox News cut off the former president’s remarks just over a minute in, as Mr Trump began ranting about the 2020 election.
“We had an election where we did much better than we did the first time and amazingly we lost,” Mr Trump said, sitting alongside Texas governor Greg Abbott.
He continued raging against US elections, comparing them to a “banana republic,” before his audio feed was muted and Fox hosts cut in for commentary.
“We got 12 million more votes than we got the first time,” Mr Trump said. “We better get our elections straightened out because you’re going to have a runaway country, you’re going to have a banana republic, you’re going to have a third world country here pretty soon because our elections are a mess.”
In the final months of the 2020 election season, distance grew between Mr Trump and the network, which was instrumental in establishing him as a national political figure. The then-president was reportedly outraged as Fox called certain close states like Arizona for Joe Biden, then began referring to Mr Biden as president-elect when projections showed him the likely winner.
Since then, even further-right networks like One America News Network, Newsmax, Right Side Broadcasting Network, and Real America’s Voice have taken the mantle as the go-to outlets of Mr Trump and his supporters.
The Fox cut-away was one of many unexpected turns during Mr Trump’s border visit.
During remarks before a crowd including border-area law enforcement officials and Texas governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday, the former president touched on the border, but mostly fell back on favoured tangents about the Russia investigation, how many more votes he got in 2020 than in 2016, how much smarter and healthier he is than Joe Biden, and the mayoral race for New York City.
“We have a sick country,” the former president said, recounting once again his dubious version of the 2020 election. “It’s sick in elections, and it’s sick on the border.”
In Mr Trump’s hometown of New York, there actually have been the kind of election irregularities he falsely claimed occurred in the states and cities he lost during the 2020 election.
On Tuesday, the City Board of Elections first said that former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia was closing in on frontrunner Eric Adams in the ranked-choice election for the Democratic mayoral primary, which in blue NYC is the main event. Then, later that day, the board acknowledged a “discrepancy” in its results, revealing it had mistakenly included 135,000 test votes in its initial results, prompting a recount.
“If you don’t have strong elections, and you don’t have strong borders, you don’t have a country,” Mr Trump went on, mocking the city for including “make-believe votes”.
The ex-president also vastly overstated his immigration record during the event.
“We had it down to really a science,” he said. “People just weren’t getting in, unless they were getting in legally,” adding boasts about building a border wall that was “not penetrable” and the claim that “we stopped” human trafficking.
Simply put, none of this is true. Immigration fluctuated up and down throughout the Trump years, and experts say the wall, once it was clear it wouldn’t be completed, had little discernible effect on overall migration flows besides vastly increasing the number of border-crossers who died in the middle of the desert, as The Independent reported last fall.