Screenshot via The Five

In a wonderful bit of dead air, an entire Fox News panel juddered to a painful halt when a host implied that their old CEO Roger Ailes is the one telling Donald Trump to say sexist things about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. Ailes left the network under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations, but the way his rancid odor still clings that place is really extraordinary.

As Hillary Clinton mentioned in Monday’s debate, Trump launched a series of racist and sexist attacks against Machado after she gained weight. He called her “Miss Housekeeping” (because she’s Latina, see) and invited reporters to humiliate her by watching her work out. He doubled down the next day on Fox & Friends, saying it was all fine because no, seriously, she gained weight.


Even the brain trust of The Five, a Fox show I keep forgetting exists, were baffled at how Trump keeps digging himself into this woman-shaped hole. They failed to recall, perhaps, that Roger Ailes evidently helped Trump prepare for the debates and is reportedly playing a large role as a behind the scenes adviser, even as the Trump camp denies his involvement. 

Here’s the fearsome five’s beautifully awkward exchange, captured by John Whitehouse, the digital director of Media Matters:

“The other one that caught my attention was when he said the business about Miss Universe, Alicia Machado,” said panelist Juan Williams. “And this morning he came on Fox & Friends and just doubled down, and said, ‘You know what, she got fat.’”

“I wonder who’s giving that advice?” Greg Gutfeld shot back. Williams laughed. Everyone else went absolutely silent and perfectly still, perhaps hoping if they simply didn’t move, their former CEO would cease to be an allegedly sexually depraved old goblin who spent his entire adult life terrorizing women who worked for him.


“What’s next!” Gutfeld eventually asked, cheerily.

“Do you have something... appropriate?” asked Kimberly Guilfoyle, who I certainly hope isn’t being terrorized at work (and who defended Ailes after Gretchen Carlson’s allegations about his behavior first came out).


What a fun election for the team over there.

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

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