This is incredible. @FoxFriendsFirst thought they booked pro-ICE Dem Ann Kirkpatrick on show, but accidentally booked Barbara L'Italien— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 23, 2018
L'Italien delivers personal message to Trump saying "we must stop abducting children... stop putting kids in cages." pic.twitter.com/OnVAdBVjJB
Thanks to a booking mistake, a Democratic state senator in the Massachusetts legislature was able to have some air time on Monday’s episode of “Fox & Friends First."
The show had, apparently, tried to book Democratic Arizona congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick to talk about her support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But Democratic state Sen. Barbara L’Italien showed up instead.
Right after the hosts introduced Kirkpatrick, L’Italien promptly said, “Good morning. I’m actually here to speak directly to Donald Trump.”
“I feel that what’s happening at the border is wrong. I’m a mother of four, and I believe that separating kids from their parents is illegal and inhumane,” she continued, before finally introducing herself.
“I’m actually Barbara L’Italien. I’m a state senator representing a large immigrant community. I’m running for Congress in Massachusetts. I keep thinking about what we’re putting parents through, imagining how terrifying that must be for those families, imagining how it would feel not knowing if I’d ever see my kids again. We have to stop abducting children and ripping them from their parents’ arms, stop putting kids in cages, and stop making 3-year-olds defend themselves in court,” she said.
Despite her comments, the two hosts tried to change the tune, maintaining that the Trump administration had been trying to reunite the families and that the president had signed an executive order bringing an end to the policy of separating children at the border.
Still, they failed to mention that the government missed the deadline to reunite all separated children imposed by a federal judge and that only about 364 of the 2,551 children have been returned to their parents.
That’s when L’Italien hit back.
“Again my name is Barbara L’Italien, and I refuse to believe that our only options are open borders or traumatizing,” she said, as her mic was finally cut off.
“Yeah, OK, who is this?” asked host Rob Schmitt.
“That didn’t go as planned,” Schmitt added, referring to the booking mistake.
Later, the hosts said that they were under the impression Kirkpatrick was scheduled to appear but that L’Italien showed up instead.
“We are working to figure out how that happened,” they said.
In a statement, executive producer of “Fox & Friends First” Desiree Dunne said that Joe Katz, the contact they had for Kirkpatrick, responded and said he had accepted the invitation on behalf of the candidate.
“During the actual segment, Barbara L’Italien appeared on camera instead of Kirkpatrick. Despite speaking to producers prior to the interview, L’Italien did not identify herself as anything other than Kirkpatrick until she was live on air, at which point we ended the interview,” she said.
But L’Italien’s campaign said that the “mix-up occurred after the network reached out to L’Italien staffers mistakenly thinking they worked for Kirkpatrick.”
“They reached out to our staff believing they were reaching the Kirkpatrick office due to their own failure of due diligence,” they told reporters.
“Over the process of getting the interview scheduled, they repeatedly showed very little grasp on the facts, down to whether or not Ann Kirkpatrick was still in Congress. Fox News is where you go when you want to talk to Donald Trump, and Barbara felt she had an obligation to her constituents to take advantage of that opportunity. But this would not have happened to an actual news station. Fox’s lack of attention to the facts normally is a disaster for the country, it just so happened that today it was embarrassing for them,” her campaign said.
Since the network cut the lawmaker off before she could finish her point, L’Italien took to Twitter to deliver the rest of her message to the president.
I've always fought for vulnerable people, and in Congress I will use every opportunity I have to make sure powerful people like @realDonaldTrump hear their voices. Here's the full statement I would've given @FoxNews if I hadn't been cut off. #ma3 #mapoli https://t.co/SAe7HoBVRV— Barbara L'Italien (@teambarbara) July 23, 2018
Twitter users were quick to congratulate her on her actions and words.
Thank you for the work you do. Thank you for standing up for human-rights and dignity and for doing what's right.— Di Angelo_T (@Di_AngeloT) July 23, 2018
Well done. Thank you for your voice against the inhumane treatment of immigrants and children and @ICEgov— KariResists (@Raycerx58) July 23, 2018
Great job taking advantage of Fox's mistake and actually getting the facts out there. Their viewers needed that.— Confuse and Distort (@ConfuseNDistort) July 23, 2018
If nothing else, this entire debacle shows how easy it is for Fox News to get something wrong.
And as L’Italien’s campaign put it, this incident may have been an embarrassment for the network, but the fact that the president relies on it for his news is an embarrassment to the country.