O'Rourke: White House has 'free rein, almost' over what is broadcast on Fox News

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE and Fox News on Sunday, reportedly saying the White House has “free rein, almost” over what is aired on the network.

The former Texas congressman knocked the close relationship between the network and Trump during a campaign event in San Francisco, pointing out the number of executives at Fox News who have worked in the Trump administration, according to Reuters.

“You have members of the organization moving into the White House, you have a White House with free rein, almost, over what is broadcast over one of the most widely watched cable networks in the country today,” O’Rourke said.


Bill Shine, previously a prominent Fox News executive, worked in the White House. Shine served as the deputy chief of staff for communications before his exit in March after less than a year. He now serves as an adviser to Trump’s reelection campaign.

Trump also reportedly has a close relationship with several Fox News hosts, praising the ones he likes, such as Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityCNN Pelosi town hall finishes third in cable news ratings race, draws 1.6M Georgia ready for unpredictable Senate race Hannity slams Stern for Clinton interview: 'Not the guy I grew up listening to' MORE, and openly criticizing others that he considers to give unfriendly coverage.

O’Rourke joins other Democratic candidates who have recently become more vocal about the close ties between the news network and the White House.

Earlier this month, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (I-Vt.) called Fox News mostly a propaganda arm for the Trump administration.

But Sanders also appeared for a town hall event broadcast on Fox in April. During the event, the crowd at the town hall cheered and burst into applause when Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked those attending whether they would support a government-run health care system.

The town hall on Fox received the highest ratings of any town hall held on a cable news network, and Sanders was applauded by some for the strategy of seeking out Fox News viewers.

Sanders also applauded Baier for how he handled the town hall during an interview with The Daily Show's Trevor Noah, saying he had been fair and straightforward.

During his event, O’Rourke also said he believes Trump welcomed help from the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign, regardless of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE's report that did not establish cooperation between the president's campaign and Russia, according to Reuters. 

“I don’t know if collusion is a term of art in the law, but he certainly invited their participation,” O’Rourke said Sunday.

--Updated at 11:11 a.m.