Fox News host Pege Hegseth confronted a Democratic House candidate in Virginia over an outrageous claim in his campaign ad comparing President Trump to Osama bin Laden.
Virginia candidate for U.S. House Dan Helmer was repeatedly asked about his claim as talked over Hegseth in an interview on “Fox & Friends” that quickly went off the rails Sunday.
Though the segment began pleasantly with the Fox News host and U.S. Army veteran thanking Helmer for his military service in Afghanistan, the conversation quickly spiraled as Hegseth repeatedly asked the Democrat to explain his comparison of a sitting U.S. president to the founder of al-Qaeda.
“Obviously an ad like that gets noticed,” Hegseth began. “We’re talking about it on the highest rated cable morning show in America. The question I have to you is, do you believe that Donald Trump is the moral equivalent of Osama bin Laden?”
“I actually believe on 9/11 — and my heart goes out to all that we lost that day and their families,” Helmer replied, not answering the question. “I was a cadet at West Point and I knew I was going to be spending the next two years preparing to lead soldiers in combat. And I served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I did it for a simple reason, I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against enemies foreign and domestic.”
“Are you saying [Trump] is an enemy?” Hegseth asked, attempting to get back on track, but Helmer kept speaking.
“I’m saying that the oath that we took to defend the Constitution, I take seriously,” Helmer continued. “This president doesn’t. And one of the reasons that I’m excited to be here on a show that I know that the president watches every morning is to make sure we deliver a message that change is coming, that no one, not even our president, is above the law.”
“Hold on,” Hegseth said, to no avail.
“It’s time to make sure that we have a Congress that holds him accountable,” Helmer said. “I’m tired of people who think we need to wait and see about a president who has violated our constitution.”
Hegseth again attempted to interject, asking the candidate how he thought Trump had violated the Constitution.
Yet again, the Democrat interrupted, speaking right over the host.
“The president has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, he has done actions that obstruct justice,” Helmer rudely went on as Hegseth tried to stop him.
“He has tampered with witnesses,” Helmer continued. “He has violated campaign finance laws. He has engaged in conduct unbecoming of a president.”
“A equals B,” Hegseth said. “Donald Trump is a terrorist – you’re making the comparison?”
“The greatest threat to our democracy right now is a president who refuses to uphold his oath to abide by our Constitution and defend it,” Helmer said, even bringing up Russians in his rant.
“You’re now running for office and when you’re running for office, you get scrutinized. And when you put an ad out saying Osama bin Laden, Donald Trump are the same thing, you have to defend that,” Hegseth fired back, asking his original question again.
When Helmer’s responses floated into bashing the NRA, Hegseth had had enough.
“You’re a smart guy, I got it,” he concluded. “But you’re digging your heels in on an argument that’s untenable and you’re making yourself look bad. A progressive that says our president is the same as a guy who murdered 3,000 Americans is not a good idea. It’s not how you move the debate forward.”