Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Thursday warned Oprah Winfrey that she “undermines racism” by pointing out that some of President Barack Obama’s critics disliked him because of the color of his skin.
“There is a level of disrespect for the office that occurs,” Winfrey said in a recent interview with BBC. “And that occurs in some cases and maybe even in many cases because he’s African American. There’s no question about that, and it’s the kind of thing that nobody ever says but everybody is thinking it.”
On Thursday, the hosts of Fox & Friends — who are all white — asserted that even Democrats were afraid to criticize the president because they didn’t want to be called racists.
“Do you see racism when Harry Reid called President Bush a loser? Is that respect for the office?” co-host Brian Kilmeade asked. “Bill Clinton was impeached for his actions in the office? Is that racist?”
“I don’t know that Barack Obama could have been elected president if he was living in a racist nation,” co-host Steve Doocy opined. “Are there racists out there? Absolutely. Is it a majority of people? No. A majority of the people, according to the polls, simply don’t like his policies.”
“And certainly throwing around racist accusations, calling someone a racist certainly for disagreeing when they are indeed not, would undermine racism when it does occur,” Hasselbeck chimed in.
“That’s right,” Doocy agreed.
“There’s so much rude stuff toward 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in my lifetime,” Kilmeade said. “Reagan was dumb, remember. George Bush was incompetent and illegitimate. Bill Clinton, we know where he ended up with the Monica Lewinski stuff. Where was the racism there? This, to me, is a situation where you’ve gone six years with almost no criticism of the president.”
“But this is someone as powerful as Oprah instilling fear in those that may come to critique policy under a cloak of racism when it may not be there,” Hasselbeck declared. “So again, it undermines racism when it does occur.”
Since Winfrey actually was hoping to “undermine racism” by calling it out, Hasselbeck most likely meant that she was undermining the struggle against racism with her comments.
Watch this video from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast Nov. 20, 2013.