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Trump chides Fox News after Sanders town hall

The Hill logo The Hill 4/16/2019 Brett Samuels

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Video by FOX News

President Trump on Tuesday chided Fox News for its town hall event with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 presidential candidate, as well as its addition of former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile.

"So weird to watch Crazy Bernie on @FoxNews," Trump tweeted. "Not surprisingly, @BretBaier and the 'audience' was so smiley and nice. Very strange, and now we have @donnabrazile?"

Moderator Bret Baier replied a short time later, thanking the president for watching and inviting him on for an interview.

"Thanks for watching Mr. President - we'd love to have you on a town hall soon - or even an interview on @SpecialReport - it's been awhile. We cover all sides," Baier tweeted.

Sanders — who Trump has derisively nicknamed "Crazy Bernie" — agreed to take part in a Tax Day town hall Monday evening in Pennsylvania on the network, moderated by Baier, the anchor of "Special Report," and "The Story" anchor Martha MacCallum.

The audience at one point erupted in cheers and applause when asked by Baier if they would support Sanders's "Medicare for All" proposal.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., takes part in a Fox News town-hall-style event with moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum on April 15, 2019 in Bethlehem, Pa. © Matt Rourke Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., takes part in a Fox News town-hall-style event with moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum on April 15, 2019 in Bethlehem, Pa. Trump's fondness for Fox News is well documented. He regularly tweets out quotes from guests on various Fox shows, is known to have a close relationship with host Sean Hannity, and his administration has hired multiple former network employees.

But the president has in recent weeks chastised the network for some of its programming and personnel decisions.

Trump last month tweeted his disapproval with the network's decision to take host Jeanine Pirro off the air for two weeks after she questioned whether Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was loyal to Sharia because she wears a hijab.

He lashed out the same day at a trio of Fox News anchors, suggesting they should work at competitor CNN instead after segments aired that included criticisms of the administration's policies.

In recent weeks, the network has featured multiple Democrats seeking the party's nomination to challenge Trump in 2020.

Fox told The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., that it reached out to various political and local groups to put together the audience for the Sanders event.

In March, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez announced that the network would be barred from hosting any of the party's primary debates. Democratic presidential candidates are not precluded from appearing on Fox News for interviews or town halls, however, and several presidential hopefuls have appeared on the network in an effort to appeal to voters.

Other presidential candidates, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have done interviews on Fox programs like "Special Report" and "Fox News Sunday."

Fox News announced last month that it had signed Brazile, a former interim Democratic National Committee chairwoman and former CNN political analyst, as a contributor.

CNN severed ties with Brazile in October 2016 after she shared town hall debate questions with then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign.

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