SECOND UPDATE: “Immigrants have to like us back,” said Tucker Carlson on his show tonight. In response to Ilhan’s accusations of racism, Carlson said, “We’re against racism, adamantly.”
UPDATED with Fox’s response: Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota lashed back at Fox News’ Tucker Carlson today, calling out the host as a “racist fool” and suggesting advertisers “should not be underwriting hate speech.”
The freshman Democrat was responding to Carlson’s commentary Tuesday night in which the Fox News host said the Somalia-born Omar “hates this country” and criticized “our immigrants” that “we’re importing” from places with values “antithetical to our own.”
Justin Wells, senior executive producer of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, said: “Anyone who values democracy and free expression should be gravely concerned when members of Congress demand that their critics be silenced. Tucker will address this on tonight’s show.”
President Donald Trump sided with Carlson, retweeting conservative commentator Mark R. Levin’s tweet calling Omar a “rabid anti-Semite”:
President Donald Trump: "Fox Has Changed...I'm Not Happy With It"
What set Carlson off was a Washington Post profile that characterized Omar’s view of America (she arrived here at age 12 after spending four years as a refugee in Kenya). The Post wrote that Omar’s version of the American story “wasn’t a meritocracy that helped her attend college or vaulted her into Congress. Instead, it was the country that had failed to live up to its founding ideals, a place that had disappointed her and so many immigrants, refugees and minorities like her.”
Tuesday night, a triggered Carlson said Omar “has undisguised contempt for the United States and for its people” and that she is “living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country. A system designed to strengthen America is instead undermining it. Some of the very people we try hardest to help have come to hate us passionately.”
Carlson went on: “Maybe that’s our fault for asking too little of our immigrants. We aren’t self-confident enough to make them assimilate so they never feel fully American. Or maybe the problem is deeper than that. Maybe we’re importing people from places whose values are simply antithetical to ours. Who knows what the problem is, but there is a problem and whatever the cause, this cannot continue. It’s not sustainable.”
As if “our immigrants” and “importing people” wasn’t enough, Carlson went on to call Omar “a living fire alarm” who serves as a “warning to the rest of us we better change our immigration system immediately. Or else.”
Omar tweeted her response last night: “Not gonna lie, it’s kinda fun watching a racist fool like this weeping about my presence in Congress. No lies will stamp out my love for this country or my resolve to make our union more perfect.”
Today, Omar retweeted a post from progressive Jewish political advocacy group Bend the Arc that listed advertisers with commercials airing during Carlson’s Omar segment (StarKist, Nutrisystem, WeatherTech), adding her own message: “Fox News is now giving a nightly platform to white supremacist rhetoric. It’s dangerous. Advertisers should not be underwriting hate speech.”
Pundits and publications weighed in today, including New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, WaPo, Vice and Esquire, to name a few.
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