Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has agreed to appear on the Fox News Channel for a town hall event, bucking the Democratic National Committee's decision to block out the conservative cable giant from hosting a 2020 presidential primary debate.
The event, which will be held in Bethlehem, PA, will be co-anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallumon April 15, the network announced on Wednesday. The event will focus on questions involving the economy and jobs and will make Sanders the first Democratic candidate in the 2020 cycle to allow Fox to host an event of this nature with him. Sanders also appeared in a Fox town hall during the 2016 campaign.
Sanders' decisions is an important one because, last month, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez decided to prohibit Fox News from hosting Democratic presidential debates during the 2020 cycle.
"Number One: We wanted to maximize the number of people who see our candidates, because I think what we are fighting for commands the respect and support of the majority of the American people. Fighting for health care, fighting for all of those really important issues that every American wants to make sure is part of their live. And so I reached out to all of the networks to make sure we could maximize eyeballs, including Fox News," Perez told CNN's Chris Cuomo at the time.
He added, "Our second goal, though, is to make sure that every debate that takes place — that I have 100 percent assurance that everybody is treated fairly. And I have respect for a number of folks on the news side over at Fox News. I was just on Chris Wallace a couple of weeks ago. If invited, I'll go back again. He's very respected, and I have nothing but respect for him. At the same time, though, Chris Wallace isn't my concern. You see that, at the highest levels of Fox News, they have infiltrated the news side."
Sanders has been harshly criticized by many of the top Fox media talents, including by Fox Business Network's Trish Regan in an interview with Salon last month about Sanders' refusal to refer to Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro as a dictator.
"This really drove it home for me in a very big way," Regan told Salon. "I'm willing to give anybody the benefit of the doubt, I'm willing to listen. But when you are turning your back on a major humanitarian crisis, because maybe you want to stick up for a socialist dictator, I have a problem with it."