Things got heated on the set of a Fox News Channel show as hosts tangled over reaction to President Trump’s remarks addressing the Charlottesville violence.
Debate about the president defending his earlier comments on the rally landed hosts of “The Five,” Jesse Watters and Juan Williams, in an on-air rumble on Tuesday.
At issue was Trump’s rather combative encounter with the press Tuesday at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Sticking by his initial reaction to the violent clash at a Virginia park that left a woman dead after a car crashed into a crowd of protesters, Trump ignited new criticism for not condemning the white supremacists who had gathered to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee but denounced both the white nationalist and Antifa groups.
Tensions were high at Fox News Channel as many of the network’s anchors debated the president’s remarks on Tuesday.
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Tempers flared a few times as Watters and Williams talked over each other on the set of “The Five.”
“I just didn’t understand why he felt the need to double down,” Williams said. “He has dived back into the mess.
Williams attempted to complete his thoughts as Waters interrupted him several times to clarify, with both men agreeing that all groups clashing in Charlottesville should be condemned for violence.
“One is racist and hateful, and [the other is] a bunch of counter-protesters looking for trouble,” Watters said, agreeing with Williams, who then clarified by blaming the white nationalists who came armed and ready for confrontation.
“These folks came armed with guns,” he said. “The people that were the alt-right, the KKK, they came with guns.”
“The white supremacists are despicable human beings that shouldn’t exist in America,” Watters said. “But… there is a part of society that says you know what, if we’re just going to bring down Confederate statues – that’s the difference between that person and someone wearing a cloak.”
“Let me just tell you something,” Williams shot back. “I don’t know why you are feeling the need to defend Donald Trump or defend the alt right on this. People standing up for American values would stand up.”
“Juan, I’m a Yankee, I don’t care,” Watters fired back, defending himself.
“That was a brave statement,” Watters said, defending Trump’s comments.
“Oh my gosh, Jesse, you are lost on this one,” said Williams.
The two continued to spar over their points while the rest of the hosts of “The Five” largely sat silent.
“Hold on. You know what, you keep ranting and raving,” Williams interrupted.
“I know a woman died,” said Watters “But it’s not representative of American society … Trump’s taken a PR hit.”
“A PR hit,” Williams exclaimed. “You don’t feel anything in your soul? You don’t see the darkness here?”
“Enough Juan, enough!” Watters responded, raising his voice even more.. “My point is both sides came ready to rumble.”
Co-host Greg Gutfeld eventually broke in and steered the conversation in a another direction.
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