Fox News hosted a town hall meeting in Iowa on Sunday and things got quite intense. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. used the platform to blame the network for allowing discussions of infanticide in debates about abortion and women’s reproductive rights.
This criticism of the network came when the senator was asked by a retired pediatric nurse named Susan about her stance on late-term abortions. Gillibrand quickly shifted to an attack on Fox News.
The New York senator accused Fox of fueling what she called the infanticide “red herring” by devoting 6.5 hours of coverage to the debate, including comments from guests on the network.
“What we have created, unfortunately, is a false choice and a false narrative,” Gillibrand said of the climate surrounding the issue. “And Chris, I want to talk about the role that Fox News plays in this because it’s a problem. I can tell you before President Trump gave his State of the Union, Fox News talked about infanticide.”
“Infanticide doesn’t exist,” she said, at which point “Fox News Sunday” host and town hall moderator Chris Wallace cut her off.
“Senator, I just want to say, we’ve brought you here for an hour,” Wallace said. “We’ve treated you very fairly. I understand that maybe to make your credentials with the Democrats who are not appearing on Fox News you want to attack us. I’m not sure it’s frankly very polite when we’ve invited you to be here.”
Gillibrand is polling at around one percent according to most national and early voting state polls, and she has yet to secure the 65,000 individual donor campaign contributions necessary to qualify her for the late June and July primary debates. She had hoped to use her platform on Fox to bolster support.
“I’ll do it in a polite way,” Gillibrand countered.
“Instead of talking about Fox News why don’t you answer Susan’s question,” Wallace said redirecting the senator to her stance on late-term abortions.
Gillibrand is a fervent supporter of abortion rights and has previously vowed to only nominate federal court judges who support Roe v. Wade. She repeated that position during Sunday night’s event at the University of Dubuque.
“Does that mean that you’re okay with other presidents having their own litmus tests?” Wallace asked her. “Maybe a pro-life president might say ‘I’ll only appoint people who will overturn Roe v Wade.’ Because the tradition in this country has been [the] independence of the judiciary and the idea that a judge, once appointed, will judge each case on its merits and not on the basis of a promise made, a political promise to get that position.”
“I think it’s changed. That’s the way it used to be before President Trump,” Gillibrand responded. “President Trump said he would only appoint judges that would overturn Roe v. Wade.”
“He already did and he’s doing it,” she said. “The rules have changed.”