Tucker Carlson intensified his attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Wednesday, calling her a “grievance monger” and saying he refuses to submit to calls that his show be taken off the air because Fox News has “got our back.”
Carlson opened his show with a 20-minute rant about Omar, continuing a feud centered on the freshman lawmaker’s frequent defense of the immigrant experience and her criticism of President Donald Trump. Omar’s family fled Somalia during a civil war and lived in a Kenyan refugee camp for four years before they immigrated to America when she was 12. She is one of three Muslim members of Congress and faces near-constant death threats.
“Omar isn’t disappointed in America; she is enraged by it,” Carlson said Wednesday. “Virtually every public statement she makes accuses America of bigotry and racism. This is an immoral racism. She has undisguised contempt for the United States and its people. Think about that for a minute. Our country rescued Ilhan Omar from the single poorest place on Earth. We didn’t do it for the money; we did it because we are kind. How did she respond to the remarkable gift we gave her? She scolded us, called us names, showered us with contempt. It’s infuriating.”
HuffPost has reached out to Fox News for clarification of Carlson’s comments.
The Fox News host initially attacked Omar on Tuesday, claiming that she hated America “more than ever” and wasn’t “grateful” enough after arriving in the U.S. as a child.
“Ilhan Omar has an awful lot to be grateful for, but she isn’t grateful, not at all. After everything America has done for Omar and for her family, she hates this country more than ever,” Carlson said Tuesday, referencing a recent profile of the lawmaker in The Washington Post.
Omar fired back the same day, calling Carlson a “racist fool.” She later accused the Fox News host of being despondent “that we have an African-born member of Congress.”
“And the fact that he doesn’t get the opportunity to ban me from this country, and now he gets to call me a congresswoman I’m sure pisses him off,” Omar told reporters earlier Wednesday. “But he’ll eventually get used to it. And I think that advertisers should not be underwriting this kind of dangerous, hateful rhetoric.”
Many on Twitter called out Carlson on Tuesday, deeming his remarks racist, nativist and emblematic of white nationalist talking points.
At one point during the program on Wednesday, one of Carlson’s guests, Brooke Goldstein, inexplicably likened Omar’s past statements to those from members of the Ku Klux Klan.
“Well, first of all, this is a woman — who, by the way, called you a white supremacist — and the irony there is that if she wasn’t a member of Congress, she would be a member of the KKK,” Goldstein, the executive director of a conservative think tank called The Lawfare Project, said. “Yes she’s commented on Israel, but she has built a career on attacking American Jews.”
Carlson deflected calls for his show to be pulled from the cable network on Wednesday, assuring viewers that he would stay put and had the full support of Fox News throughout the controversy.
“We noted at the beginning of this show that Ilhan Omar is trying to take this show off the air. Shut us up. Silence us,” Carlson said. “We want to reassure you that’s not going to happen. Why? Because we work at Fox News, and they’ve got our back, and we’re thankful for that.”
Fox News has reprimanded its hosts before, although the network has yet to comment on Carlson’s remarks. In March, the network said it “strongly” condemned Jeanine Pirro’s Islamophobic attack on Omar for wearing a hijab. The host had used her program to say the religious garment may be “antithetical to the Constitution.”
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