Hours after arriving in the United Kingdom for three days of vital meetings, President Donald Trump complained about not having access to one of his favorite home comforts: Fox News.
The president first stopped to visit the American ambassador’s residence in London on Monday. While Trump is accustomed to seeing his favorite conservative commentators on television when he walks around the White House, he had no such luck at the diplomatic home.
Here’s why: CNN International airs in more than 200 countries and territories, including the UK. Viewers can watch Fox News in many nations too, but it’s not available in Britain.
21st Century Fox, the news channel’s parent company, took it off the UK’s airwaves in 2017 because it didn’t prove a commercial success. What’s more, the UK’s media regulator said that the conservative channel didn’t abide by the country’s impartiality rules.
So even if staffers at America’s British embassy wanted to watch Fox & Friends or Hannity on TV, they’d be out of luck.
That clearly doesn’t sit well with the president, who spent valuable prep time firing off two tweets decrying the lack of Fox News in his life.
Trump was already in a combative mood, only hours earlier calling London Mayor Sadiq Khan a “stone cold” loser in response to the British politician’s less-than-flattering op-ed about him.
But it’s not so surprising that Trump lambasted CNN. He’s long feuded with the outlet for not covering him as favorably as Fox News does, going so far in 2017 as to tweet out a video of himself punching the CNN logo superimposed on a person’s face. (Yes, that actually happened.)
He took his hatred to new heights when he also advocated for a boycott of CNN’s parent company AT&T in his tweets, supposedly over the cable news network’s coverage of him. Not only is it that request a blatant attack on American journalism, it’s also the American president calling for an American company to lose business simply because he’s unhappy with it. That only adds to Trump’s longstanding effort to stop AT&T’s massive merger with Time Warner.
But the core of Trump’s complaint right now seems to be something much more immediate and personal: He just wants to watch Fox News. It’d make him feel better.
That’s quite the insight into the president: Ahead of big diplomatic engagements — in this case with the queen and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, among others — Trump let the world know that all it takes to throw him off his game is to put CNN on TV and keep Fox News out of view. One could imagine adversarial nations thinking of ways to ensure Trump only has access to CNN when he visits them.
For now, a fired-up Trump has to find a way to be diplomatic while visiting one of his key allies — or risk disaster at the start of his European tour.