Geraldo Rivera is struggling to defend President Donald Trump.
Though he considers the president his friend, the Fox News correspondent-at-large said Monday that he was “saddened” by Trump’s controversial tweets.
(Video: Fox News)
Rivera spoke about Trump’s explosive tweets aimed at progressive congresswomen and said during an appearance on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” that it “pains me for him to take the low road.”
Fox News host Martha MacCallum spoke to Rivera following a press conference held by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. in which the women blasted Trump for his comments.
Dem ‘squad’ puts on attention-seeking 5 pm victimhood presser; refuse to call Trump president https://t.co/GpsCpYCefF
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) July 15, 2019
“These women came out swinging, and they were talking about what they think America means to them, which is a debatable topic across this country tonight,” MacCallum said Monday.
“I was really saddened by what he said invoking the language of racism and xenophobia in describing these four women I thought it was very unnecessary,” Rivera said.
“He picked a fight he didn’t have to. The Democrats were doing a great job at destroying themselves and being divided and he united them gratuitously,” he added. “I don’t know why he did it. I don’t know what he was thinking. It is unfortunate.”
Rivera had expressed his disappointment in Trump after the initial tweets on Sunday.
Sad to watch my friend @realDonaldTrump take low road regarding @AOC of the Bronx, @RashidaTlaib of Detroit @AyannaPressley of Boston & @Ilhan of Somalia & Minneapolis. Let’s stick to issues & steer clear of language that’s xenophobic even racist. @POTUS you’re better than that.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) July 14, 2019
The president sparked the controversy over the weekend when he tweeted that several progressive freshmen House members should ”go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Omar, a Somali-born refugee who came to the U.S. as a child, appeared to knock Trump supporters across the country with a re-tweet and she back at Trump calling him “the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen.”
Rivera found it difficult to interpret the president’s remarks any other way than what his critics were declaring.
“He says that he didn’t mean for them to go back to some foreign land, but I read the words he spoke, and you either believe the president or your own lying eyes,” he told MacCallum. “It’s an embarrassment, it’s a self-inflicted injury. I’m sorry that he did it. I feel embarrassed for him and by him.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stepped in Monday to introduce a House resolution to condemn the president’s attack on the women who have been nicknamed the “freshmen four.” But the president passionately doubled down in a press conference of his own Monday, condemning the lawmakers who “hate our country.”
Trump brazenly takes on critics in fiery, passionate presser about freshmen four: ‘They hate our country’ https://t.co/rU8ISnOFCE
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) July 15, 2019
Rivera admitted the “four radical Democrats” are “fringe members of their own party.”
“But for the president to punch down and to unite the Democrats, it just is unnecessary,” he added, reiterating the difficulty in defending Trump – which he has often done – against the criticism he felt was justified.
“You know when I defend him I do so against all these gratuitous attacks in the media. He has the worst press of any president in modern history and yet he does things like this that leaves himself open to the criticism that he is exactly what the people who hate him say he is and I feel it’s very unfortunate,” Rivera said.
MacCallum asked Rivera if he knew why, given his long friendship with Trump, that he would have acted the way he has.
“I just hope it isn’t a glimpse at his soul. I just hope that he doesn’t really believe that every person of color comes from someplace else,” he replied. “I’ve always credited him with a high intellect and competence and being under regarded in many ways. But I just — I hope that’s not the explanation, that he really believes it.”
Rivera emphasized that Trump should apologize if there was a misunderstanding about what he meant, contending that it could hurt his reelection campaign.
“This is the kind of divisive statement that our country does not need,” he said. “I think that he should put this behind him and say he’s sorry.”
@realDonaldTrump is often attacked unfairly by partisan hacks. Not this time. His call for the congresswomen of color to go back where they came from is racist & xenophobic. He should apologize. If he didn’t mean to say it, he should apologize for being extraordinarily clumsy.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) July 15, 2019
And as for the congresswomen, Rivera agreed that they have “radical” views, but insisted the president needed to handle them differently.
“They are radicals. They have a different role than the president of the United States. The leader of the free world…. he’s the person that activates the slogan of the United States of America. He’s the glue. He can’t be the divider,” he said.
And while the left will surely applaud Rivera’s criticism, he found little sympathy on social media where Twitter users slammed him for speaking against the president.
@Geraldo I love President Trump and he knows what he is doing. I support him.
— Anna malone (@anna_mstar) July 15, 2019
Geraldo isn’t always on the right side of things
— Mary Meisch (@mgmeisch) July 15, 2019
With “good friends” like @GeraldoRivera, the President doesn’t need enemies.
— Paul Knight (@Gaga_In_Fla) July 15, 2019
Lost all respect. He needs to learn to read and support the president.
— angrybrowardwoman (@woman3290) July 15, 2019
I love Trump is calling them out! They have been trashing our country and “they” are in our Congress! They are supposed to be for American and all they can do is tell us how bad we are! Geraldo and all the rest.. wrong!
— Pgs4669 (@Pgs4669) July 15, 2019
Thank God we have a President that calls out a problem that Nobody else has the balls to do. Geraldo should have someone powder his bottom and feed him a bottle.
— Travis Stanley (@MrTravisstanley) July 15, 2019
Nasty little ‘squad’ broads can spew lies & vitriol, diminish the office of the POTUS, & spout a steaming pile of grotesque BS on the daily but, God forbid, the POTUS strike back, they pull racist crap. Get the hell outta here & take that useless, creepy Geraldo Rivera with you! pic.twitter.com/mlS1WkP4B0
— All Things Right and Sensible (@AllThingsRandS) July 15, 2019
Geraldo Rivera should be denouncing these democratic haters of America, but instead he has to side with his liberal, Hillary loving wife, Shame on you Geraldo Rivera, Our President was right you hate America GET THE HELL OUT!!!!!
— Emili Cruz (@cruzzhr) July 15, 2019
and me as well !
— ApopkaFlowerchild 🌸🌸 (@apopkamojo) July 15, 2019
You’re taking what he said out of context and you should be ashamed for jumping on this “Racism” bandwagon!!
— Aaron Waters 🇺🇸 (@aaronleewaters) July 15, 2019