Despite a pre-dawn kickoff, single digit temperatures and roads that in some places were still so icy that local schools were canceled again, Hillsboro area residents packed Momma’s West Main Café in Hillsboro early Wednesday morning to participate in the “Breakfast With Friends” segments broadcast live on “Fox & Friends” on the Fox News Channel.
Onsite Fox host Pete Hegseth interviewed numerous breakfast diners from 6-9 a.m., allowing local voters to share their thoughts about President Trump, the media and other topics during the program.
Several times, Hegseth commented that while he has conducted a number of “Breakfast With Friends” shows, the Hillsboro visit stood out, both for its liveliness and its warm welcome to the Fox crew.
He also effusively praised the breakfast fare served at Momma’s, with New York studio hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade expressing their envy as they viewed the entrees Hegseth displayed to the camera.
Between on-air segments, Hegseth spent considerable time posing for photographs and selfies with diners who streamed into the café throughout the morning. Many patrons commented on the friendliness and approachability of the Fox crew, including the behind-the-scenes producers and technicians.
Bobbie Barr, who co-owns the restaurant with her daughter, Jeretta, said later the event “couldn’t have gone better.”
“We couldn’t be happier with it,” she said, praising the Fox personnel for being “very genuine.” She said she was proud of how the patrons expressed themselves on national television, and she thanked her staff for their work.
Numerous local residents were interviewed by Hegseth throughout the morning.
Rob Moffat, a veteran, said he is “disappointed” in the White House press corps’ treatment of Trump. “They wouldn’t have treated previous presidents this way,” he said. Moffat said Trump is “doing what he said he was going to do.”
Fellow veteran Dennis Griffith disagreed with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s description of the recently passed tax cut plan as “crumbs.” “The folks that’s getting it don’t think so,” said Griffith. After Hegseth referred to “politicians,” Griffith said Trump “is not a politician.”
Melissa Elmore, president of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce and a small business owner, said businesses are “elated” with the tax cuts, adding that small businesses would “see the impact the quickest.” She said Congress should “grow up and get their act together.”
Local banker Diana Grooms said, “The people can’t handle the truth, and Donald Trump is the truth, and he has no filter, and unfortunately the people can’t handle it.” She said Trump runs into resistance because he represents change.
Real estate agent Alex Butler said most of the media, along with college campuses, misunderstand rural America. He said average people “are not preoccupied with race.” He said jobs and the economy are what people care about, adding, “The only color we’re preoccupied with is green, the economy.”
Larry Barr, a small business owner and husband of Momma’s café owner Bobbie, said that since Trump’s election jobs are coming back and “doors have opened up, there’s a lot more work.” Regarding border security, Barr said the president “is going to protect us as a people, but the Democrats protect illegal aliens. What they don’t understand about the word ‘illegal’ confuses me.”
Other patrons who were interviewed expressed similar sentiments about Trump, the media and those in Congress who oppose the president, both Republicans and Democrats.
Throughout the morning, Hegseth mentioned that “Fox & Friends” came to Hillsboro after reading a Washington Post column by Times-Gazette Publisher and Editor Gary Abernathy encouraging “Big Media” to visit Hillsboro and other places that strongly supported Trump in the 2016 election.
During his interview with Hegseth, Abernathy said he invited the national media to visit Hillsboro in part because of the disparaging narrative pushed by many people and media outlets about places that voted for Trump. He said the reasons people supported Trump “are a lot more complicated than what you tend to read in the media.”
After the program ended and the Fox crew was packing up their gear, Fox producer Matt Leach said a return trip to Hillsboro might be in the cards down the road.
When the Fox crew left, a television crew from TV Tokyo, which arrived in Hillsboro Tuesday afternoon, interviewed several diners at Momma’s. TV Tokyo’s visit to Hillsboro was the third in recent months from Japanese-related media, including earlier visits from The Nikkei, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, and the Tokyo Broadcasting System television network.
The BBC, Reuters and other outside media organizations have also visited Hillsboro in recent months.
Clips from Wednesday’s diner segments can be found on The Times-Gazette’s Facebook page or the “Fox & Friends” website.