Things got heated at Fox News as Pete Hegseth and Geraldo Rivera clashed over President Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about four Democratic congresswomen.
The debate began after a discussion on “Fox & Friends” about Trump’s 2020 campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina on Wednesday which has come under attack by the left because of a chant by the crowd that the mainstream media decided to frame as the main event.
(Video: Fox News)
Rivera accused the president at the outset of making a “nativist, xenophobic, racist attack” against Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley when he told them to “go back” to the countries they came from and fix what was wrong instead of always bashing the U.S.
“Go back to where you came from is the old racist trope, that all of us, ethnic or racial minorities have grown up with at various times,” Rivera said. “It is unforgivable, this day and age. I really lament it came up.”
“Geraldo, you, like many, have accused him of racism. But if you go back and look at that tweet, he is not talking about race. He’s talking about whether or not you love this country and appreciate it,” Hegseth countered. “If you don’t appreciate it, don’t love it, don’t want to work to make it better, then maybe you could consider going somewhere else.”
Rivera was taken aback by the remarks from the former military officer who served in Afghanistan, Cuba, and Iraq.
“What the hell?! C’mon Pete!” he interrupted. “This is their country. They are citizens of the United States. Pete: He was talking in general of principles of countries.”
“He was talking in general about the principles of our country,” Hegseth interjected.
“So what if someone said that to you, ‘If you don’t like it, you can leave?’” Rivera asked, prompting his co-host to respond, “Absolutely. They can say that to me.”
“It’s horrible. You cannot say that. You can’t say it to me,” Rivera sputtered.
“I’ve got 10 street fights based on that,” Rivera continued, “because someone saying to me because I’m Puerto Rican — ‘go back where you came from.’ I was born on 17th street this is where I came from.”
“I’m not looking at the color of your skin. I’m looking at what you stand for, the principles of our country, white, black, otherwise. It is not about race,” Hegseth tried, in vain, to explain.
“Once you make nationhood and citizenship like that conditional on your political loyalties you run a very dangerous path there. You should know that Major, and you should know better,” Rivera shot back as Hegseth noted the lawmakers’ “lack of gratitude.”
“A lot of people are not grateful to be here. Gratitude is not a requirement,” Rivera said as he went on to speak about the freshman congresswomen who have come to be known as “the squad.”
“I think these four radical left-wing congresspeople, you know, God bless their diversity and the extraordinary achievement of them being elected. AOC, the youngest member ever. Tlaib, the first Palestinian American. Omar, the first refugee. Pressley, the first black woman to represent the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These are extraordinary women,” he began.
“Their policies are to me un-doable, impractical, in many ways pie in the sky. Let the President run against their position, let him run against their issues,” Rivera continued. “He can beat them fair and square that way all these positions that they have are so untenable that he can beat them on the issues.”
Trump indicated that he was not happy about the chants from rally-goers on Wednesday who yelled “send her back” when the president spoke about Omar.
“I disagree with it,” he said, noting that he “didn’t say that, they did,” and pointed out that he continued speaking without acknowledging the crowd’s chant.
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