Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Fox+News+host+Bret+Baier+poses+with+his+new+book%2C+%E2%80%9CTo+Rescue+the+Constitution%2C%E2%80%9D+after+speaking+at+Pick-Staiger+Concert+Hall+on+Saturday.
Shun Graves/The Daily Northwestern
Fox News host Bret Baier poses with his new book, “To Rescue the Constitution,” after speaking at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on Saturday.

Fox News anchor Bret Baier described his new book’s subject George Washington as “revered” during a wide-ranging talk Saturday evening, touching on the U.S. House of Representatives speaker battle and tensions in the Middle East.

As part of the Chicago Humanities Festival’s annual Evanston Day, Baier conducted an hourlong discussion with WTTW anchor Paris Schutz at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

Baier, Fox News’ chief political anchor, spoke to a few dozen attendees about his book, “To Rescue the Constitution,” following a busy week in Washington. His weeknight show, “Special Report,” has covered a speaker vacancy in the House and the current war between Israel and Hamas.

Baier said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the GOP’s latest nominee for speaker, lacks the necessary votes to win as of this weekend, according to his reporting. Jordan’s bid remains uncertain as a full House vote looms.

“Democrats hold together, and they can pitch to have a different speaker that has some bipartisan power-sharing deal,” Baier said. “Republicans desperately don’t want that, but they may be backed into it.”

Last month, Baier interviewed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who rarely speaks to U.S. media. Bin Salman refuted claims that talks had paused on a historic treaty to normalize relations with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later expressed hope for a deal in an exclusive interview with Baier on Sept. 22.

Following the start of an Israel-Hamas war this month, talks of a normalization treaty have reportedly stalled, with some political analysts speculating a deal may be off the table. But Baier said that may not be the case.

“I’ve talked to Saudi officials off the record and on background,” he said. “They say, ‘Yes, it’s paused. But the crown prince still believes in that vision he talked to you about, about changing the face of the Middle East.’”

Throughout his talk, Baier emphasized his position on the “news side” at Fox News, but he said social media’s partisanship and inaccuracies directly challenge that role.

Schutz agreed, saying, “Cable news amplified those partisan messages. X and social media take it to a different level.”

Baier said the debates held during the 1787 Constitutional Convention remain relevant during modern day partisan divisions.

Baier discussed how he found “nuggets” of history in his research, helping him feel the “crackle of being in the room” during the nation’s founding. He characterized Washington as a statesman who both begrudgingly and humbly led the U.S. through the Revolutionary War and the years after.

Recent debates about historical revisionism and the founding fathers’ views on slavery also surfaced. Baier said Washington, a slaveholder, had evolving views about slavery but came to “regret” it during his final years.

Some attendees said they came to watch Baier, while others said they came to hear about Washington.

Attendee Eddie Olewinski said he doesn’t watch Baier’s show. Instead, he came for the history lesson.

“I’m just a very big fan of George Washington,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why I came.”

Baier said he embraces his role as a journalist who ensures the accuracy of his history and presents different perspectives.

“Personally — this is journalist’s hat aside — I believe we should embrace our history and also think about where we’ve come,” Baier told The Daily after the event. “But you also have to be accurate if you’re going to look backward and make sure that you know what it was like on the ground.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @realShunGraves

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