Fox News backtracks, will allow Trump surrogates in post-debate 'spin room'

August 23, 2023

According to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Fox News has reversed course and will now allow surrogates of former President Donald Trump to access the post-debate "spin room" Wednesday night, The Post Millennial reported.

The claim from the Florida congressman follows a flurry of reports on Monday that Trump surrogates would not be allowed to enter or speak with the media in the spin room after the first Republican primary debate on Fox News because frontrunning candidate Trump had himself decided to not participate in the entire event.

Gaetz says "Trump team" will be in "full force" at GOP debate

Rep. Gaetz appeared on Newsmax on Tuesday and was asked by host Chris Salcedo about the purportedly "completely unprecedented" development of Fox News not allowing "Trump surrogates to attend the debate and the spin room after the debate."

"So here's what happened," Gaetz replied, "The [Republican National Committee] gave control over the spin room to Fox News. We were allowed to go and observe the debate but there was a little bit of confusion."

"I can tell you now that’s all been sorted out," he continued. "We are going to have the Trump team in full force at this debate, we are going to have access to the spin room, we’re going to be there to observe the debate, and I can’t wait to be giving my hot takes on Newsmax afterward and share with you my perspective on how it went."

Trump surrogates will need an invite to access spin room

Axios reported on Monday that while Fox News had not completely banned all surrogates of former President Trump from entering and engaging in the post-debate spin room, as had been reported by a number of media outlets, there would be some restrictions.

According to an internal network memo obtained by Axios, aides and delegates of candidates who participated in the debate will be granted automatic entry into the so-called spin room, where they will clarify and support the responses of their own candidates and launch attacks against opponents and rivals.

Surrogates for Trump, however, due to his non-participation in the actual debate, will only be granted access to the spin room if they are directly invited by a media organization.

Bret Baier says reports of Trump surrogate ban are "not true"

The Daily Wire reported that Fox News host Bret Baier, who will co-moderate the debate alongside fellow network host Martha MacCallum, further clarified how former President Trump's surrogates would indeed be able to access the spin room, despite earlier reports to the contrary.

During a Tuesday interview on "The Hugh Hewitt Show," Baier took a moment and said, "I do want to say one other thing about, there’s all these stories out there about surrogates, Trump surrogates, and how they’re not being allowed into the debate."

"That’s not the case at all," he explained. "It’s -- if they get invited to the debate, first of all, the RNC handles all the tickets. If they are an elected official, they get a ticket no matter what. If they are a surrogate and they get invited, they get to go."

"As far as in the spin room, it is the candidates on the stage and their delegates. And then if any media organization who’s in the spin room invites one of these surrogates, a Trump surrogate, they are welcome to come. They have to get the invite from the media person in the room," Baier added.

As an example, he suggested that network host Sean Hannity could invite Trump surrogates into the spin room for interviews and emphasized that the reports that Trump's allies had been completely banned from the event were simply "not true."

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