It was pretty confusing when suddenly, Fox News contributor, Andrew Napolitano, one of the biggest on-air defenders of President Trump, became one of his biggest critics. The below article provides several potential reasons, for Napolitano’s about turn.
NEW YORK (AP): Judge Andrew Napolitano describes Trump as a longtime friend — he describes a lot of people as longtime friends — and was publicly more supportive early in the president’s term. In March 2017, he claimed on “Fox & Friends” that former President Barack Obama received assistance from British intelligence to spy on Trump’s campaign, a report repeated by then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
After a forceful denial by British intelligence, Shepherd Smith, former Fox News host, said Fox knew of no evidence that Trump had been under surveillance. Napolitano was reportedly suspended for two weeks.
In January 2018, Lloyd Grove wrote in The Daily Beast that Napolitano was emerging as one of Trump’s “more influential, if unconventional, ex-officio advisers.” Trump’s Twitter feed showed he was listening, like when he quoted Napolitano questioning if there was a conspiracy by the FBI and Obama’s Department of Justice to prevent Trump from becoming president.
But less than a year later, Trump was calling out Napolitano’s “very dumb” legal argument about the Mueller report. On April 27, 2019, Trump tweeted: “Ever since Andrew Napolitano came to my office to ask that I appoint him to the U.S. Supreme Court and I said no, he’s been very hostile.”
Napolitano said he had two meetings with Trump during the transition at which the president-elect asked him to describe his ideal qualities in a Supreme Court nominee. When Trump said it sounded like Napolitano described himself, he said he was actually talking about future nominee Neil Gorsuch. He said Trump asked him to pitch himself.
Politico reported in 2017 that Napolitano had told people that he was on Trump’s list of potential nominees to the court. But the commentator said he never seriously considered himself a candidate.
Being attacked on Twitter was surreal but unsurprising, he said.
“I don’t resent it because I know what he’s like,” Napolitano said. “He sees the world through his own eyes and he doesn’t have the sensitive conscience that the rest of us do.”
For whatever reason, there seemed a marked shift in Napolitano’s tone toward Trump following the July 2018 nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, said Angelo Carusone, president of the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America. The initial positive attitude toward Trump seems, in retrospect, an aberration, he said.
Napolitano said he opposed Kavanaugh because the justice’s legal views conflict with his as a libertarian. He said he felt this way before Christine Blasey Ford leveled her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
Later, when Trump claimed vindication from a Mueller report, a view which Napolitano disagreed with, “it was only appropriate to defend that view, not shrink from it,” he said.
By now with the Ukrainian story, “I was apparently irretrievably in the White House dog house,” he said. “And we all know that the president hates dogs.”
When asked whether Trump should be impeached, Napolitano said that is a political judgment.
“If I could modify your question to ask if there’s a legal basis to argue high crimes and misdemeanors, then the answer is yes,” he said. “That’s really beyond dispute … If I were a Democrat in the House, which I am not and never will be, I would vote to impeach.”
And if he were a Republican in the Senate?
“I think they’re going to find some of his behavior difficult to defend,” he said.