President Trump speaks at rally in Missouri on November 5

Voters cast their ballots early for the midterm elections at the Government & Judicial Center in Noblesville Ind. Tuesday Oct. 23 2018

Voters cast their ballots early for the midterm elections at the Government & Judicial Center in Noblesville Ind. Tuesday Oct. 23 2018

Fox News Channel officials have said they "do not condone" the actions of its host Sean Hannity when he spoke from the stage of U.S. President Donald Trump's final midterm election rally on Monday night.

In a statement, Fox News called their participation just one day before the midterm election "an unfortunate distraction".

The Fox opinion hosts have been two of Trump's biggest backers for a long time, but like many critics concerned about the Fox News-White House dynamic, several of the network's employees say Hannity and Pirro's shilling puts them in an extremely hard position.

As observers pointed out, Fox News journalists were among the "people in the back" that Hannity insulted.

Hannity and the president have had a close bond for years - before the 2016 election, Trump falsely claimed that he had been against the Iraq war and when pressed for evidence of that position, he said that he and Hannity used to have "arguments" about the war. Jeanine Pirro also campaigned with the president, shouting to the crowd, "Do you like the fact that [Trump] is the tip of the spear who goes out there every day and fights for us?"

Trump, however, did call Hannity to the stage.

"They are jealous, they are envious, this isn't supposed to happen, you people are supposed to love them, not Trump", Limbaugh said.

Hannity, whose evening show attracts more than 3 million viewers, is the network's most popular opinionator, and his program is typically the most-watched cable news talk show.

Hannity had done his show as part of a Trump spectacle before in September at a rally in Las Vegas when the president was launching his prime-time media effort to win Senate confirmation for Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Hannity - who explicitly promised he would not campaign with Trump on stage in a tweet before the event - later clarified that the onstage moment had not been planned.

"Either Fox News lied all day about their direct collaboration with the Trump campaign, or the network simply doesn't have any control over Sean Hannity", said Angelo Carusone, president of the liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America, which has urged an advertiser boycott of Hannity in the past.

National Security Adviser John Bolton, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, and current White House Communications Director Bill Shine all had careers at Fox News before joining the administration.

In Indiana, Trump invited White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and counselor Kellyanne Conway on stage to speak along with his daughter Ivanka Trump. "Anyone doing business with Fox News should worry about the network's inability to enforce even the most bare minimum standards".

One Fox News employee described to CNN Business the scene at the NY headquarters of Fox News at the time, as a number of journalists inside the company's news division watched the episode unfold live.

"It's all fragile. Everything I told you about, it can be undone and changed by the Democrats if they get in", Mr Trump told supporters on a telephone town hall meeting held by his re-election campaign.

Fox News draws a distinction between its opinion and news sides of the house.

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