Fox News calls host appearance with Trump unfortunate

Voters cast their ballots early for the midterm elections at the Government & Judicial Center in Noblesville Ind. Tuesday Oct. 23 2018

Fox News scolded its top star, Sean Hannity, after he appeared alongside President Donald Trump onstage at a campaign rally and referred to the press corps as "fake news".

'This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed'.

A third employee explained that staffers had been told that Hannity would limit his participation to interviewing the president.

But, approximately 12 hours after Hannity posted his tweet, he was campaigning on stage with Trump in one of the clearest demonstrations yet of the cozy relationship between the network and the Trump White House. "I am covering the final rally for the show". "Something I have done in every election in the past".

That seemed to be a good enough explanation for his employers over at Fox News, who issued a statement on the matter Tuesday afternoon.

Facing a severe gender gap, Trump brought on stage his three most high-profile female White House staffers: daughter Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who made a special appeal to fellow mothers.

"Do we love Sean, by the way?"

Hannity - wearing a red-striped tie and American flag pin just like Trump - joined the president at the podium.

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"By the way", Hannity told the crowd, "all those people in the back are fake news".

As race calls stream in from the Fox News Decision Desk, viewers will see live updates on the projections for the balance of power in Congress.

"I had no idea you were going to invite me up here", Hannity said. Bill Shine, who was at the time executive vice president for programming at Fox News and who is now the White House deputy chief of staff for communications, said in a statement, "When senior executives in NY were made aware of this, we changed our plans for tonight's show".

And Hannity wasn't the only Fox host to take the stage to fawn over the president.

Hannity, cable news' most popular personality and a vocal Trump defender, has twice been publicly rebuked by Fox for campaign activity.

"They're having a schizophrenic moment over there trying to figure out what their role over there is supposed to be with the Trump presidency", she added. "We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight and we are extremely proud of their work", the statement read. "This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed".

Hannity hugged the president when he came onstage and, after echoing Trump's traditional epithets about the media, recited some economic statistics.

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