TV Show Hosts Who Bashed Donald Trump On Live TV

The following article includes references to racism and sexual assault allegations.

One of Donald Trump's favorite sparring partners is the media; after all, it's those pesky members of the press who aren't going to let him forget that he's been impeached twice and indicted four times. He complained about "fake news" on X, formerly known as Twitter, nearly 1,000 times during his presidency, so he was obviously a tad obsessed with his news coverage. The media was also on his mind after he lost the 2020 presidential race to Joe Biden. "He only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go. This was a RIGGED ELECTION!" Trump tweeted.

Trump's authoritarian tendencies were on display in September 2023 when he threatened NBC's news networks with some form of retribution for failing to report on him in a manner he found satisfactory. On Truth Social, Trump called for NBC's parent company, Comcast, to "be investigated for its 'Country Threatening Treason.'" He added, "When I WIN the Presidency of the United States, they and others of the LameStream Media will be thoroughly scrutinized for their knowingly dishonest and corrupt coverage of people, things, and events." 

It's unclear what actions Donald Trump would take against the news organizations he's seeking vengeance against, but if he's serious about the whole treason thing, the punishments for that crime are death and imprisonment. And if Trump were to pursue legal action against every news host who has criticized him, it would be a full-time job.

Neil Cavuto scolded Donald Trump for being unpresidential

It's no secret that Donald Trump favors one news network above all the rest; Fox News was even exempt from his Fake News Awards. But on occasion, Trump has felt like the network that ditched its "fair and balanced" motto hasn't demonstrated enough fealty to him. He got especially cantankerous ahead of the 2020 presidential election when the channel dared to give Democratic commentators a platform to challenge his policies and promote their own. "Fox isn't working for us anymore!" he seethed on X in 2019. This prompted a response from Fox Business journalist Neil Cavuto, who said on his show "Your World," "Mr. President, we don't work for you. I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you."

This wasn't the first time Cavuto scolded Trump as if he were a petulant, pouty child. In 2017, Trump's list of Festivus grievances grew by two. On X, he groaned about former Senator Jeff Flake saying that the GOP was "toast" if it continued to support Trump, and he moaned about LaVar Ball not expressing gratitude to him for his son LiAngelo Ball's release from a Chinese jail. Trump actually played no role in the liberation of the UCLA basketballer and two of his teammates but tweeted, "I should have left them in jail!" 

On "Your World," Cavuto said of Trump's behavior, "Last time I checked you are the President of the United States. Why don't you act like it?"

Mika Brzezinski slammed him for spreading a conspiracy theory

There was a time when MSNBC's "Morning Joe" rolled out the welcome mat for Donald Trump. In 2015, host Joe Scarborough asked the then-presidential hopeful if he found Russian President Vladimir Putin's habit of murdering journalists troublesome, and Trump replied (via Yahoo! Finance), "I think our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe." But as Trump's campaigning became even more controversial, his relationship with Scarborough soured; in a 2017 appearance on "The Late Show," Scarborough told host Stephen Colbert that he left the GOP because of Trump.

On X, Trump admitted to still watching "Morning Joe" on occasion, and his regular attacks on Scarborough were proof that the host was living rent-free in his head. In 2020, Trump took his hate campaign to a new extreme by tweeting, "When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida. Did he get away with murder? Some people think so." This was seemingly in reference to congressional aide Lori Klausutis, who died in 2001 when she lost consciousness and hit her head. This happened at Scarborough's congressional office, a detail Trump apparently hoped would give his baseless conspiracy theory enough of a hook for his followers to swallow it.

Scarborough's wife and co-host, Mika Brzezinski, harshly reprimanded Trump for sinking so low. "Donald, you're a sick person," she said on "Morning Joe." "You're really a cruel, sick, disgusting person. And you can keep tweeting about Joe, but you're just hurting other people."

Brian Kilmeade hit Donald Trump with friendly fire

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump gave "Fox & Friends" a ton of free promotion on X, sometimes by expressing his gratitude to the show for its overwhelmingly favorable coverage of him. He also liked to brag about the show's ratings, suggesting that it owed him its thanks for its success in a 2020 tweet. Then there were the tweets repeating some of his favorite quotes from the morning show's hosts, including a remark Brian Kilmeade made expressing disapproval over his 2019 impeachment. In 2021, Kilmeade again demonstrated his Trump loyalty by getting snappish with a sixth grader who dared to suggest that Joe Biden was doing a better job handling the COVID-19 pandemic than Trump would have been had he been reelected.

But even Kilmeade's support wavered in March 2023 when Trump opened a campaign rally in Waco, Texas, with a video of imprisoned January 6 insurrectionists singing the National Anthem as Trump recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The video also included footage from the attack on the U.S. Capitol. On "Fox & Friends," Kilmeade criticized Trump for spending too much time whinging about his legal woes during his presidential campaign, and he called Trump's decision to pay tribute to the rioters "insane." The host added, "He should be running from that, period. I don't care his point of view, that is not a good thing for him. I thought that was absolutely awful."

Alyssa Farah Griffin's condemnation had him fuming

In May 2023, CNN made the divisive decision to host a town hall for Donald Trump. While being grilled about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Trump refused to say whether he wanted Vladimir Putin to be successful in this bloody endeavor or not. Among the critics of Trump's responses to questions about the Russian dictator was "The View" co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin, who is a former Trump aide. "America got to see who he is last night: a ranting, raving lunatic who sided with Vladimir Putin," Farah Griffin said on the show.

Being condemned by someone who once worked for him left Trump rattled, judging from his response on Truth Social. "Backbencher in the Trump Administration, Alyssa Farah, like so many other sleazebags, had only glowing reviews of the Trump Administration until long after she left," he wrote. " A loser then, and a loser now!" He included an old video of Farah Griffin calling him a "strong leader." 

In another post, Trump claimed that there was a push to get Farah Griffin fired from "The View," but he didn't say who was doing the purported pushing. However, the co-host kept her seat on the show and later said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°," "Donald Trump doesn't seem to understand that those of us who served in his administration, we swore an oath to the Constitution. We did not swear an oath of loyalty to Donald Trump."

Chris Wallace called the ex-POTUS out for attacking the press

In 2017, Donald Trump declared war on the media by tweeting that he views all major news networks, aside from Fox, as "the enemy of the American People." In response, "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace broke one of The Donald's 10 Commandments of Media Coverage: Thou shalt not say that Barack Obama did something better than him. "Barack Obama whined about Fox News all the time, but I got to say, he never said that we were an enemy of the people," Chris said to Trump's chief of staff at the time, Reince Priebus.

Chris became one of the few Fox News hosts that Trump periodically complained about on X. In response to a "Fox News Sunday" segment that was critical of the Trump administration's slow response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump compared Chris unfavorably to his late father, "60 Minutes" host Mike Wallace. "Just watched Mike Wallace wannabe, Chris Wallace, on @FoxNews. I am now convinced that he is even worse than Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of 'Meet the Press' (please!), or the people over at Deface the Nation," he tweeted in April 2020. 

In addition to taking issue with his reporting, Trump seemed to harbor a grudge with the host over what he viewed as unfair treatment during the 2020 presidential debate Chris Wallace moderated. In one tweet that referenced the debate that November, Trump wrote, "His show is a total 'hit job' on your favorite President, me!" 

Joy Reid joked about Donald Trump's orange glow

MSNBC host Joy Reid has earned bragging rights as one of the journos who made Donald Trump so hopping mad that he had to hop on X and rant about her. While guest-hosting "All in with Chris Hayes," Reid ruthlessly roasted Trump's speech at a 2019 GOP event, making sure to draw attention to his mispronunciation of "Mike Pence" as "Mike Pounce." As she continued recapping the event, she said, "Trump went on to treat the gathered Republicans to some smoking hot beauty tips." Reid then played clips of Trump complaining that LED lightbulbs give him an orange sheen. He also mused about how great it would be if he could wear a cowboy hat all the time like some Texans do, saying that people would no longer be able to mock his sculpted coif. After the segment aired, Trump tweeted, "Who the hell is Joy-Ann Reid? Never met her, she knows ZERO about me, has NO talent, and truly doesn't have the 'it' factor needed for success in showbiz."

But Reid later got her own MSNBC show called "The ReidOut" and remained a vocal Trump critic. During an August 2023 episode, she called Trump "the most inadequate human being who's ever been president" while discussing his indictment in Georgia. (Unfortunately, he couldn't use any of his "smoking hot beauty tips" to look his best for his mugshot.) "He decided to be king," said Reid. "And now he is the king of scandal and disrepute."

Shepard Smith wanted answers about his relationship with Russia

Shepard Smith was one of the many journalists who found fault with Donald Trump's adoration of Vladimir Putin. During the two presidents' 2018 summit in Helsinki, Trump expressed doubt over U.S. intelligence agencies' findings that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election. "I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," he told the media after the meeting, per ABC News. Trump's obeisance to the Russian autocrat alarmed a number of his fellow Republicans. "Shameful, disgraceful, treasonous — three of the descriptions of what President Trump did today in Helsinki," Smith said of some GOP leaders' reactions to the summit on his Fox News show "Shepard Smith Reporting" (via NBC News).

Smith had previously expressed frustration with Trump for dodging questions about his ties to Russia. "It's crazy what we are watching every day," Smith said on air in 2017. "It's absolutely crazy. He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we are some kind of fools for asking the question." He also called out Trump for telling the American public a bald-faced lie about the size of his electoral victory. 

Smith would later tell CNN that he decided to depart from Fox News in 2019 because the network had its own issues with being honest. "I don't know how some people sleep at night," he said of his former colleagues.

Imagining a Donald Trump handshake soured Don Lemon's mood

Donald Trump is no Don Lemon fan; he once tweeted that the news anchor is "the dumbest man on television." Before Lemon got ousted from CNN, he also didn't hold back when it came to sharing his opinions about Trump. "The President of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that," he said on "CNN Tonight" in 2018.

Lemon pointed to Trump's championing of the lie that Barack Obama wasn't born in America as one of the examples of his racist behavior. Because Trump treated the other ex-president so poorly, Lemon believed that Obama should have only greeted Trump with a nod when they were both invited to attend George H.W. Bush's funeral in December 2018. "I don't think I would have shaken hands with him, I would just — nope, couldn't do it. I'm not that big a person," Lemon said on his show (via Newsweek). When his fellow anchor, Chris Cuomo, argued that shaking hands was the proper, respectful move in that situation, Lemon replied, "[The Obamas] do not have to respect someone who does not respect them." He also argued that Trump shouldn't have attended the funeral to begin with because he's also made some rather mean-spirited remarks about the Bush family in the past.

Eboni K. Williams rebuked him for his Charlottesville response

Donald Trump's seeming reluctance to condemn racism after the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, caused dismay and unease among some of his supporters. By failing to disavow the neo-Nazi demonstrators there, Trump was risking some critics taking his silence as an implication that he shared their racist views — or that he was turning a blind eye to them because he didn't want to lose their support. One woman was killed when a neo-Nazi drove into a group of counter-protesters, but Trump suggested that those standing up to actual hate groups were equally at fault for what transpired on that tragic day. "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides," he said in a press conference.

Eboni K. Williams was among the members of the media who called Trump out for his failure to speak out against some of the most hateful members of the MAGA crowd. "In a moment where you could have been crystal clear where you stand on the issue of inclusion, standing up against white supremacy and domestic terrorism, you very intentionally chose to be ambiguous and equivocate," she said on "The Fox News Specialists" (via HuffPost). In response to the outcry over his initial remarks, Trump did eventually speak out against white supremacists. Williams suggested that he didn't simply do this to begin with because he'd realized that a substantial number of his supporters are racist.

Jim Acosta's Jimmy Buffett roast of Donald Trump

Jim Acosta is one of the few members of the media Donald Trump has been able to silence, albeit temporarily; in 2018, Acosta's White House press pass was suspended. CNN accused Trump's press secretary at the time, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, of lying about the reason Acosta was banned from presidential press conferences. "It was done in retaliation for his challenging questions," the network tweeted in part.

Acosta would continue challenging Trump's behavior and policies on "CNN Newsroom." While discussing 2021 reports that the former "Celebrity Apprentice" host believed he would be reinstated as POTUS before the next presidential election, Acosta addressed Trump directly, saying, "You are not well, sir. You need to get over this." He also roasted Trump's and members of the Republican party's inability to accept defeat by tweaking the lyrics of the beloved Jimmy Buffett classic "Margaritaville." The host said with a smirk, "Wastin' away again in Mar-a-Lagoville / Lookin' for that next election to assault / Some people claim that there's an orange man to blame / But I know it's my own damn fault."

Acosta adopted a more serious demeanor months later when reacting to Trump claiming that Haitian migrants coming to America have AIDS. After noting that this is simply untrue, Acosta said of Trump's lie, "It's twisted and it's evil." He also swapped folk rock for heavy metal by suggesting that the GOP politicians who support Trump should ask themselves, "Can you feel the darkness that fills his soul filling yours too?"

Nicole Wallace compared him to an untrained canine

In 2020, Donald Trump unleashed a vicious social media attack on Nicole Wallace, the host of the MSNBC show "Deadline: White House." Apparently, Wallace had angered him by accusing the GOP of launching a "smear campaign" against Joe Biden using Tara Reade's allegations that Biden sexually assaulted her when she was a member of his Senate staff in the '90s. "She was thrown off 'The View' like a dog, Zero T.V. Personas. Now Wallace is a 3rd rate lapdog for Fake News MSDNC (Concast). Doesn't have what it takes!" Trump tweeted.

Three years later, Wallace used a more creative canine metaphor of her own while discussing Trump. He'd been fined $10,000 for violating a gag order in his New York City civil fraud trial, and his inability to muzzle himself reminded Wallace of her pets at home. "I have vizslas, and so all of the training of that breed is about impulse control: teaching them not to run after the squirrel, not to roll in horse poop. Trump has less impulse control than a hunting dog," she said on "Deadline: White House." "Couldn't keep himself out of trouble." Trump also apparently has a bad habit of looking at authoritarian rulers the same way a golden retriever looks at his favorite ball. After he praised Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, and Vladimir Putin on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" in April 2023, Wallace said of his yapping about their greatness, "He's such an idiot on top of all else."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Lawrence O'Donnell lambasted Donald Trump for his 9/11 lie

"The Last Word" host Lawrence O'Donnell was a critic of Donald Trump long before he became president. "NBC has created a monster and it is called Donald Trump," the MSNBC host said during a 2011 episode of his show. This was in reference to Trump teasing that he might run for president but using his "Celebrity Apprentice" commitments as an excuse for why he hadn't yet announced his decision. "All of this, every bit of it, is as fake as Donald's fake reality show where he pretends to fire some very sad people," said O'Donnell of the media circus Trump's talk of a potential political career had created.

Fast forward to after Trump had actually occupied the White House for four years, and O'Donnell was calling the former NBC reality show star out for another form of fakery. This time, it was one of Trump's lies about the September 11 terrorist attacks. On "The Last Word," he played a clip of Trump claiming that he "lost hundreds of friends" on 9/11. It was from a 2016 GOP primary debate. "Donald Trump has been lying about 9/11 since 9/11," O'Donnell said. "Here is Donald Trump's most vile lie about 9/11." According to O'Donnell, Trump actually lost no friends in the attacks and stopped making this claim after O'Donnell called him out for lying. "Donald Trump tried to steal the grief of all of the families who lost someone on 9/11," he added.

The View mocked him for playing the vengeful 'victim'

During a November 2023 Univision interview, Donald Trump proclaimed that he was ready to get payback for what he believes are politically motivated indictments and investigations into his businesses and finances, alleged election interference, involvement in the January 6 riots, and handling of classified documents. "What they've done is they've released the genie out of the box," he said, possibly forgetting where djinn traditionally reside because he was wishing he hadn't allegedly stored those boxes of docs in a Mar-a-Lago bathroom. "... If I happen to be president and I see somebody who's doing well and beating me very badly, I say, 'Go down and indict them.' ... They'd be out of the election." The implication here seems to be that he plans on running for a third term as president if he gets elected again, which would require passing a constitutional amendment.

The panelists on "The View" have been highly critical of Trump, so they wondered whether he would sick his weaponized DOJ on them. "Boy, are we in trouble," co-host Ana Navarro quipped. Alyssa Farah Griffin suggested that punishing his foes isn't the only reason Trump is desperate to get elected president again; she claimed avoiding prison is another goal. "When he speaks, we should listen, and frankly, it's scary," she added. However, Joy Behar didn't seem too concerned about his bluster; she taunted Trump to come after the co-hosts and mocked his "constant whining about being a victim."

Tucker Carlson called the former president out for being selfish

Before Tucker Carlson got fired by Fox News, he rarely criticized Donald Trump. However, he lashed out at the then-president in 2020 as Black Lives Matter protests swept the nation. When the White House was temporarily locked down that May due to the demonstrations in Washington D.C., Trump fired off a series of tweets praising the Secret Service for keeping the crowd outside the building from getting too out of control. "Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action. 'We put the young ones on the front line, sir, they love it, and good practice,'" he wrote

But apparently, Carlson wasn't amused by Trump's gleeful recollection of how the officers ensured that he could tweet without worrying about the gates being breached. "The president reassured America that he and his family were just fine. The federally funded bodyguards had kept them safe. He did not mention protecting the rest of the nation, much of which was then on fire. He seemed aware only of himself," Carlson said (via Politico). He also addressed Trump directly, asking him what actions he was taking to deal with the unrest and even suggesting that it was hurting his reelection chances.

We'd later learn that it was likely a regular struggle for Carlson to conceal his apparent contempt for Trump. In Dominion Voting Systems' lawsuit against Fox News, some of Carlson's text messages about Trump were produced in discovery. Per BBC News, one of them allegedly read, "I hate him passionately."

Why TV shows hosts began comparing Donald Trump to Hitler

During a November 2023 Veterans Day speech, Donald Trump didn't keep his focus on honoring the Americans who have served in the military; he also painted a frightening picture of how he might use the military for retribution if he's elected president again. "We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country," he said. A number of news hosts sounded the alarm over Trump's use of the word "vermin" to refer to those he considers enemies who must be hunted down. 

On "The Mehdi Hasan Show," MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan blasted Trump for using Nazi rhetoric. "It was a word frequently used by Nazis to dehumanize Jewish people during the Holocaust," he said. Hasan added that Americans should be very concerned about some of Trump's reported policy plans, such as creating huge detention camps for undocumented immigrants. "This is a man who doesn't just borrow the rhetoric and policies of dictators and demagogues but openly admires and praises them," he said. An example is Trump calling Kim Jung Un "a tough, smart guy." 

Meanwhile, on "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough summed Trump's remarks and behavior up by saying, "We're just going full-on Hitler." He urged Americans not to simply brush off Trump's comments and warned them of the 2024 presidential election, "This is the most important election probably since 1864."