White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that the President is looking forward to his Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace, being taped Thursday in Chicago, calling it a chance to reach an audience that may not have heard directly from the President in a while. The interview will air on April 10 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Fox Broadcasting and Fox News Channel.
Earnest was asked in the daily press briefing to confirm the interview, which he did, then was asked his thinking about that interview, Obama's first appearance on the Sunday show as President.
"Look, the President is looking forward to it," he said. "And I think any time that the President is doing an interview with a television program that he hasn’t done an interview with for a while, it's an opportunity to reach a new audience, or at least an audience that may not have heard from the President directly in a while."
Asked what new audience he meant, Earnest pointed out that the audience was not just Fox News but Fox TV station viewers as well. The interview will also air Sunday night (9 p.m.) on Fox News Channel.
Fox has signaled Wallace will ask about the President's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, which Republican legislators have vowed not to hold hearings on before the election.
The question is a natural given that the President will be in Chicago to visit the University of Chicago Law School – where he taught for more than a decade – to talk about the Supreme Court and the judicial system.
Earnest signaled the President would be ready for the question. "[I]t seems like a particularly good opportunity to make a strong case that the United States Congress should fulfill their constitutional responsibility to confirm a nominee to the Supreme Court that even Republicans describe as a consensus nominee," he said.
Earnest said Wallace had "a well-established reputation for asking tough questions, so I don’t think anybody is expecting a softball interview here," and added: "I think that there are some important issues to talk about. And the President is certainly looking forward to a thoughtful and serious conversation about some of these important issues."