Fox Business Network anchor Stuart Varney offered absolutely no pushback when former President Donald Trump used his Monday morning interview to peddle a baseless and totally bonkers conspiracy theory claiming Facebook stuffed “phony” ballots during the 2020 presidential election.
In recent days, the twice-impeached ex-president has been telling people close to him that he expects to be reinstated to the White House by August, apparently embracing the latest election fan fiction from MAGA die-hards and dead-enders such as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Trump allies have since begged him to not bring up the insanely impossible theory, instead pushing him to concentrate his energy on helping the GOP in the upcoming 2022 midterms.
Trump being Trump, however, he simply could not help himself on Monday.
Asked about the recent decision by Facebook to extend his suspension to early 2023, the former reality-TV host asserted he was being punished because his “voice is very strong” and “very powerful.” And then he went straight down the conspiratorial rabbit hole.
“I won the election,” he falsely claimed. “But they cheated and, by the way, Facebook and [CEO Mark] Zuckerberg, with the $500 million worth of phony lockboxes that he put on, some of them had 96 percent Biden votes in them—96 percent!”
Trump added: “They were like just dumping ballots it was a phony deal, and let’s see how that all turns out but there’s a lot of litigation coming and what they did is a disgrace.”
The former president then raged about Facebook and Twitter banning him from their platforms, claiming they are “destroying our country and they don’t want to hear a sane voice” while also lamenting that he lost “close to 200 million” followers across his social media accounts.
“We don’t have free speech anymore,” Trump whined. “And who are they to tell us what ideology we should be talking about, what politics we should be talking about. They are a disgrace.”
Varney, a loyal Trump supporter who once credulously declared the ex-president has never lied in his life, rolled over for Trump’s unhinged claims about Facebook’s “phony lockboxes” and instead wondered aloud what Trump can do about getting back on social media.
As for Trump’s baseless assertions about Zuckerberg dumping Biden ballots during the election, it appears he was citing the Facebook founder’s $350 million investment in the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a nonprofit group that helped budget-strapped local election offices deal with the influx of mail-in ballots and drop boxes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
NPR reported after the election that local requests for grants from the CTCL largely focused on “increased pay for poll workers, expanded early voting sites and extra equipment to more quickly process millions of mailed ballots.” While Trump and his allies have long included this funding as part of their voter-fraud conspiracies, analysis “shows the grant funding had no clear impact on who turned out to vote.”
Fox and a number of its on-air personalities, meanwhile, are currently facing billion-dollar lawsuits from voting software companies Smartmatic and Dominion that allege the cable network pushed false claims that the firms rigged the 2020 election. Fox has since filed motions to dismiss the suits, citing First Amendment protections while defending its election coverage.