Fox News’ Juan Williams set himself up for attack when he declared that “it’s a fact” that President Donald Trump is a racist.
A fiery debate erupted on “The Five” Thursday as Williams locked horns with his Fox News colleagues in a discussion about the CNN Democratic debate.
(Video: Fox News)
Guest Brian Kilmeade spoke about the nature of debate questions from CNN’s Don Lemon as a moderator, contending that his claim that Trump is stoking racism should disqualify him.
“I never saw a moderator take such a pointed question, just assumptive question. I liked Rachel Maddow, who obviously is an opinion anchor, moderate,” he said, referring to the MSNBC host who joined her NBC colleagues, anchors Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Jose Diaz-Balart and Chuck Todd to moderate the June 26 and 27 Democratic primary debates.
“I didn’t even know, her opinion never came out,” the “Fox & Friends” co-host continued, adding that Lemon’s remark about the president was “beyond reproach.”
The CNN host’s controversial question during Tuesday’s debate sparked a firestorm of backlash, including from the president who called Lemon “the dumbest man on television.”
Trump trashes Lemon as ‘dumbest man on TV’ for biased debate questions, Stelter looks for safe space https://t.co/55I8kLTCRB
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) July 31, 2019
“CNN’s Don Lemon, the dumbest man on television, insinuated last night while asking a debate ‘question’ that I was a racist, when in fact I am ‘the least racist person in the world,’” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
“Perhaps someone should explain to Don that he is supposed to be neutral, unbiased & fair, or is he too dumb (stupid) to understand that. No wonder CNN’s ratings (MSNBC’s also) have gone down the tubes — and will stay there until they bring credibility back to the newsroom. Don’t hold your breath!” he added.
Kilmeade believed Lemon’s performance in the debate earned him the boot.
“It just shows a point of view as a moderator I thought should eliminate you almost immediately from that job, I don’t think that’s your job,” he said.
His view triggered Williams who announced, “Let me tell you, it’s a fact.”
“It’s a fact. It is a fact,” he continued to say as his colleagues erupted in protest.
“But he’s not!” Kilmeade exclaimed.
“It’s an opinion,” Greg Gutfeld shot back. “That’s an opinion, Juan!”
But Williams was not deterred and tried to make his point by referring to recent polling on the topic.
“Not only is it a fact, most Americans, 51 percent of Americans in a Quinnipiac poll…” he began, referring to a recent Quinnipiac poll that found 51 percent of those polled thought Trump was “racist.”
“They don’t say that about John McCain, Mitt Romney, Bob Dole, Jack Kemp,” Williams argued, naming former Republican presidential nominees. “In fact, George Wallace, George Wallace, in ’68, was not viewed as a racist by most people.”
“That’s called an opinion, Juan, it’s not a fact. I can keep saying, he won’t listen,” Gutfeld quipped. “You just cited a poll as a fact!”
“If I’m the moderator, If I’m Don Lemon, and I say most Americans think [Trump] is a racist, you guys would say ‘That’s an opinion!” This is crazy!” Williams said.
“He didn’t say that,” Kilmeade interjected.
“Ok, we’re crazy,” Gutfeld fired back. “We’re crazy, because we know an opinion when we see one.”
Conservative radio host Larry Elder slammed the choice of Lemon and Jake Tapper as moderators for this week’s debates, telling “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that their comments about Trump being a racist should have disqualified them.
(Video: Fox News)
“Well Don Lemon is not a reporter, he is a commentator, they ought to bill him as such” Elder told Kilmeade. “He has continually called the president a racist, as, by the way, has Jake Tapper. Neither one of them should have been there.”
“Once you call the president of the United States a racist, that is a problem,” Elder said. “As much as anybody dislikes President Trump, you have to admit whether or not he is a racist is an opinion, not a fact.”
“When you have reporters saying Donald Trump is a racist, Don Lemon saying what do you say about Trump supporters who put the economy above Trump bigotry, you have invalidated yourself as a journalist,” he added. “It’s just appalling to me.”
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