A host from a conservative radio station in Denver said he was abruptly fired after criticizing President Donald Trump during his weekly talk show Saturday morning.
Craig Silverman, a former local prosecutor, was replaying parts of a 2015 interview with Trump confidant Roger Stone when managers from 710 KNUS cut him off and switched to network news, according to the Denver Post. Stone was convicted Friday of witness tampering and lying to Congress in connection with the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In the clip, Silverman told Stone that he was bothered by Trump’s relationship with the late Roy Cohn, Trump’s former attorney and mentor, who was widely regarded as a ruthless and unscrupulous power broker.
Silverman said the station’s program director came through the door without warning and told him, “You’re done,” according to the Denver Post. The host added that he intended to spend the last hour of his show discussing “how toxic Trump is in Colorado” and arguing that congressional Democrats were “making a strong case” in the impeachment inquiry.
Silverman and representatives from KNUS and Salem Media Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday morning. The station appeared to have deactivated the website for “The Craig Silverman Show,” and some of the show’s archive appeared to have been removed.
On Twitter, Silverman signaled that he was targeted because he refused to support the president.
“I cannot and will not toe strict Trump party line. I call things as I see them,” Silverman wrote in response to a supportive tweet from a state lawmaker. “I see corruption and blatant dishonesty by President and his cronies. I also see bullying/smearing of American heroes w/courage to take oath and tell truth. Their bravery inspires me.”
“I was frustrated that we couldn’t talk about the facts of the impeachment case and it all came to a head as I was excoriating Donald Trump on my show,” Silverman said on CNN Sunday.
Silverman’s alleged termination came at the end of a whirlwind week of public hearings in the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry, during which the president’s supporters in the media have rallied to defend him against allegations that he abused his office to pressure Ukrainian officials into investigating his political rivals.
Like many talk radio stations on the AM band, KNUS broadcasts mostly conservative content, including a syndicated show by one of Trump’s attorneys, Jay Sekulow, that airs Sunday nights.
Silverman, a former chief deputy district attorney in Denver, calls himself an independent with conservative and liberal views. On his show and in news interviews, he has said he has cast more ballots for Republicans than for Democrats, voting for Mitt Romney in 2012 and Trump in 2016.
He launched his show on KNUS in 2014 after spending a decade at the radio giant Clear Channel, where he co-hosted a politics talk show. In an interview that year with the website Complete Colorado, a reporter asked Silverman whether he was surprised that the station had hired him given his “liberal and libertarian viewpoints.” Silverman said he wasn’t.
“KNUS seems dedicated to presenting compelling talk radio and there is diversity in their hosts,” he said. “You don’t have to say ‘ditto’ or ‘you are a great American’ to get on our shows. I welcome all callers. I cherish good conversations.”
Speaking to Complete Colorado again this summer, Silverman said he was “proudly independent” and wanted his show to be an “island of independence” within the station. “I treat people fairly and I’m not part of a team out to destroy members of another team,” he said. He said that in the Denver area, Trump and the Republican Party are largely considered “toxic,” while also lamenting that, in his view, socialism was taking hold among Democrats.
“I cherish my Saturday morning radio show like a child,” he said. “It has my name and I was there at its creation. The Craig Silverman Show is unlike any other talk radio show I’ve ever heard.”
Silverman has made no secret of his feelings about Trump and the impeachment inquiry over the past few weeks. In his Nov. 2 show, he remarked on how Trump was booed and greeted with chants of “Lock him up!” when he attended Game 5 of the World Series in Washington.
“I submit that Donald J. Trump is deeply unpopular in lots of America,” he told listeners. “And our country is at a crisis point. And I think a lot of people in America are coming to the realization that something is just not quite right with President Donald Trump.”
In last week’s show, Silverman accused some Trump supporters of being unwilling to have a civil debate about the impeachment inquiry or consider arguments about the validity of the investigation. At one point, he took a call from a listener named Brian who said the inquiry was unjustified and that Trump hadn’t committed any impeachable offenses. In response, Silverman brought up claims that Trump attempted to withhold military funding from Ukraine to secure investigations into former vice president Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate, and his son Hunter Biden.
“You like Donald Trump’s policies and I like many of them, as well. Right now, we have peace and prosperity, and that’s great,” Silverman replied. “But the question becomes, ‘Is it OK to cheat to win?’ Because the allegation is that Donald Trump is using that money and the power of the presidency to cheat to win in 2020.”
On Sunday, Silverman told CNN he has not heard from his former employers, and continued to stress the importance of covering the impeachment probe.
“If no one on radio talks about it, how are the American people going to understand,” he said.