With Donald Trump’s path to reelection narrowing, he and his campaign have taken aim at the director of Fox News’ Decision Desk, which called Arizona for Joe Biden on Election Night.
The Trump campaign sent out a press release attacking Arnon Mishkin, who has since made multiple appearances on the air defending the call and declining to retract it.
“Arnon Mishkin, the director of Fox News’ election decision desk, prematurely called Arizona for Joe Biden before hundreds of thousands of ballots had been counted,” the campaign said. “Even left-leaning election analysts like Nate Silver have criticized the decision, but Mishkin is standing by his terrible decision despite and refusing to retract his unjustified call.”
The Associated Press followed Fox News several hours later in making the call of Arizona for Biden, but other networks have not.
The network is sticking by the call, even as a new batch of ballots from Maricopa County showed a tightening of the race in an update on Wednesday night.
“Fox News has already called Arizona,” Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace said on air on Thursday. “That’s caused a lot of heartburn in the Republican party but I did check in with our Decision Desk earlier today and they are not wavering. They say our call in Arizona was right, which puts them at 264.”
And following a report that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law and senior adviser, got in touch with Rupert Murdoch about the Arizona call, Trump did not personally. Murdoch said in an email to The Washington Post that “if he had, I would not have interfered or changed our call.”
Network projections are powerful moments as election results trickle in, but they are obviously not the official word. That comes after elections officials tabulate the ballots and the results are certified. The Trump campaign attacked Mishkin by noting that he is a registered Democrat and who voted for Hillary Clinton. The reason the campaign knows that is he told The New York Times. The Decision Desk is set up to operate independently, but also has a powerful check on its calls — the actual results.
Asked on Wednesday by Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum about the Trump campaign’s claim that recent result updates show he’s on target to win the state, Mishkin said, “If a frog had wings.”
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