Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggested on Monday that President Barack Obama could blurt out the N-word during an important speech like his State of the Union address because he had used it while recently discussing the state of race in America.
During a conversation with podcaster Marc Maron that was published on Monday, Obama expressed frustration that racism was still alive in the U.S.
The president told Maron that “the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. We’re not cured of it.”
“And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘n****r’ in public,” Obama explained. “That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t overnight completely erase everything that happened 2-300 years prior.”
This immediately launched a discussion on Fox & Friends about “whether it is appropriate for the president to use the n-word and whether or not it is beneath the dignity of his office.”
But Fox News anchor Bret Baier argued that it was the president’s “prerogative to say those things when talking about racism from his personal knowledge, and it has a unique perspective, obviously, as the first African-American president.”
“I think many people are wondering if it’s only there that he would say it,” Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck replied. “And not, perhaps, in a State of the Union [address] or more public address if he’s only doing this because he’s in the — quote — podcast, that he felt safe to do it there.”
Following a commercial break, Fox & Friends returned with a “fair and balanced debate” about whether the president should have used the n-word.
Left-leaning radio talk show host Garland Nixon argued that Obama had used the words strategically following the recent mass shooting in Charleston.
“What it does is it causes people who would not normally talk about the issue of race to talk about it,” Nixon noted. “And the reality is, [alleged Charleston shooter] Dylan Roof, just the other day, had a black drinking buddy that he hung out with, he didn’t project himself as a racist, but in reality, when we read his manifesto, we see it’s exactly what the president said.”
Conservative radio host David Webb, however, disagreed.
“It is beneath the office of the president,” Webb opined. “He playing into this narrative because it supports what he needs to push and his agenda. He says we basically have not evolved as a society, that racism is still institutional in the United States. And it’s not because we don’t have codified law, we don’t have social acceptance.”
“As a matter of fact, we have overturned racism,” he added. “There are always going to be racists, and that’s a difference.”
Fox News host Steve Doocy pointed back to the point Hasselbeck had made earlier about Obama using the n-word during his State of the Union address.
“Is it okay for him to stand in the briefing room in the White House and do it, in front of a joint session of Congress with State of the Union?” Doocy wondered. “Should he use that word there if he wants to talk about racism?”
Watch the video below from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast June 22, 2015.