What to Know
- Massachusetts State Sen. Barbara L'Italien slammed President Trump during an appearance on Fox News on Monday
- Fox & Friends First thought they had booked an Arizona Democrat who has voiced support for ICE
- The co-hosts of the show criticized L'Italien afterward, calling it a "weak move" and a "publicity stunt"
An apparent mix-up on Fox News gave a Democratic congressional candidate from Massachusetts a forum to criticize President Donald Trump's immigration policies while the show's confused hosts looked on.
The network planned to speak live Monday morning with Ann Kirkpatrick, an Arizona Democrat who has voiced support for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Instead, Massachusetts State Sen. Barbara L'Italien appeared on the screen.
"Good morning, I’m actually here to speak directly to Donald Trump," L'Italien said. "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."
U.S. & World
Stories that affect your life across the U.S. and around the world.
She then identified herself as state lawmaker who represents "a large immigrant community."
"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," L'Italien said.
The hosts of "Fox and Friends First," still confused about who they were speaking to, inturrupt L'Italien.
"Kids have been reunited with their families," co-host Jillian Mele falsely claimed. More than 2,000 children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border have yet to be reunited with their families, administration officials disclosed in court Thursday.
L'Italien identified herself again, at which point the feed was cut off once the hosts realized she wasn't the guest they expected.
"That didn't go as planned," "Fox and Friends" co-host Rob Schmitt said afterward.
"That's what happens sometimes. Time for a break?" Mele added.
L'Italien, who is running for Congress in Massachusetts' 3rd District, took to Twitter after her appearance on the show to explain herself. She also posted a video of the full statement she said she would have made if she hadn't been silenced.
Schmitt also took to Twitter to accuse L'Italien of hijacking the show for a "publicity stunt."
Mele tweeted as well, calling it "kind of a weak move to do this on live TV."
Desiree Dunne, executive producer of Fox & Friends First, said the show reached out to Kirkpatrick through Joe Katz, a press contact they had on file.
Katz once served as a spokesman for Kirkpatrick when she was in Congress.
"Katz followed with an email confirming the segment, which also included background information and a campaign logo for Ann Kirkpatrick," said Dunne.
"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 added.
Katz responded that it was the network that should be blamed for the error.
"Fox News reached out to our staff believing they were reaching the Kirkpatrick office due to their own failure of due diligence," he said. "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."
Katz added that L'Italien felt obligated to take advantage of the opportunity provided because, "Fox News is where you go when you want to talk to Donald Trump."
L'Italien is among nearly a dozen Democrats running for their party's nomination in the Sept. 4 primary in the 3rd Congressional District. Incumbent Democrat Niki Tsongas is retiring.
Kirkpatrick served four terms in the U.S. before unsuccessfully challenging Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain in 2016. She is among Democrats vying for the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Martha McSally.
On Twitter Monday, Kirkpatrick accused Fox of misrepresenting her position on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency during the introduction to the segment on which she was supposed to appear.
"I am disgusted by the Trump policies aimed at immigrant families," she tweeted.