For a grand finale to his campaign blitz Monday night, President Trump invited his advisers, including press secretary Sarah Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, and Trump's favorite Fox News pundits, Sean Hannity and Judge Jeanine Pirro, on stage in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to sing his praises.
Fox News, however, said Tuesday it wasn't pleased with their talents' performances, calling it an "unfortunate distraction."
The Trump campaign had announced beforehand that conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would join the president for his last rally as "special guests," but before the rally, Hannity denied he was appearing to campaign for the president.
"In spite of reports, I will be doing a live show from Cape Girardeau and interviewing President Trump before the rally," Hannity tweeted. "To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the President. I am covering final rally for my show. Something I have done in every election in the past."
But in Missouri, the press pool reported former Fox News executive and current White House communications director Bill Shine high-fived Hannity from off stage. Then, when Trump called him up, Hannity quickly went from "covering the final rally for [his] show" to becoming part of the show.
"Do we love Sean, by the way?" Trump said to applause.
Hannity -- wearing a red-striped tie and American flag pin just like Trump -- joined the president at the podium.
"By the way, all those people in the back are fake news," Hannity, who is not a journalist, said to cheers. Fox News journalists were in the press pen he pointed toward.
"I had no idea you were going to invite me up here," Hannity said. "And the one thing that has made and defined your presidency more than anything else: Promises made, promises kept."
Fox News, with its conservative-leaning talk shows, some of which are unabashedly pro-Trump like Hannity's, has long had a unique relationship with the Trump administration. The president professes it is favorite news network and it has even been a launching pad for careers in the administration.
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.
Trump will tweet about Fox News personalities and segments and is known to frequently talk to Hannity on the phone about his show's monologue.
But Hannity and Pirro appeared to cross a line for Fox News during his appearance at Monday's rally.
In a statement, Fox News called their participation just one day before the midterm election "an unfortunate distraction."
“Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” Fox News said in a statement. “We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”
Hannity tweeted his own statement. claiming he was surprised by Trump's invitation.
“What I said in my tweet yesterday was 100% truthful. When the POTUS invited me on stage to give a few remarks last night, I was surprised, yet honored by the president’s request. This was NOT planned. To be clear, I was not referring to my journalist colleagues at FOX News in those remarks. They do amazing work day in and day out in a fair and balanced way and it is an honor to work with such great professionals.”