When Fox News host Harris Faulkner went into a TV interview with President Trump last month, she didn’t plan to confront him about having used the phrase, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” in a May 28 tweet. But that’s what happened.
Faulkner, who hosts the network’s Outnumbered and Outnumbered Overtime during the week, even received kudos from fellow journalists for asking Trump directly why he chose those words. She then corrected the president when he cited the wrong source.
“My main thing was to have a conversation, which is always the goal, but in this particular time in our history as a nation, I thought it was really important to go back and forth about the things that matter in a way that’s in real time,” Faulkner tells Yahoo Entertainment. “So I did a lot of historical prep. I always do. I mean, you’re sitting before a president. He doesn’t have a lot of time. He’s respecting you with his time, and you want to respect the person in office. You want to respect the wider public, who’s giving their time to watch for maybe some answers or, you know, an opening up of facts and all of that that maybe they haven’t seen elsewhere. But I also wanted to respect myself as a Black mom in that moment, knowing all that had transpired with George Floyd.”
Faulkner, who shares two daughters, 10-year-old Danika and Bella, 13, with husband Tony Berlin, said what had been on her mind leading up to that moment is how Americans seemed to unite after Floyd died in police custody. And yet they had already gone back into their corners.
“So that was the backdrop for me for the interview. It was, let’s ask the president about uniting us again,” Faulkner says. “And that was really the only top-line thought I had going in.”
The rave reviews that she earned in that moment, particularly one from the revered Columbia Journalism Review, have been a personal highlight of her three-decade-long career.
Faulkner plans to continue having the tough conversations about what’s happening in the country in a special, Harris Faulkner Presents: The Fight for America, that airs Sunday. Guests including U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina and the only Black GOP member of the Senate, former NFL star Herschel Walker, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and others will discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, defunding the police and related issues. She wants to “inspire people and inform them.”
The name was chosen carefully, she explains.
“I have been accused of being Pollyannaish, but right now no one’s really saying that as much to me,” Faulkner says. “People are saying, ‘My gosh, we wanna find light. There’s so much darkness. We want to turn to the light.’ And how do we do that? We do it together. So the title, that’s what it means. We’re not just fighting or fighting against, it’s fighting for the country that we love, and I look forward to being a part — it’s a small part — but being a part of that taking shape.”
Don’t expect her to make the conversation about herself, though. Faulkner is not a fan of journalists putting their personal political opinions on display. She tells her own daughters to stay objective, so that they can know, as she says, “not who’s right, but what’s right.”
Faulkner hopes to have similar specials in the future, in addition to her regular job. She’s currently the only Black woman hosting her own weekday cable TV show.
“You know, my responsibility is to ask the questions that the viewer would ask if they could sit in my seat. But the expectation is that I won’t ever give up. And then in those moments when it really counts to not bring yourself into the interview — that’s not what I did with President Trump — what I did by talking race and being pointed in those conversations and focused, was I brought humanity into that conversation.”
Harris Faulkner Presents: The Fight for America airs Sunday, July 19, at 10 p.m. ET on Fox News.
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