In the flood of cable news reaction to President Donald Trump’s decision to order a strike that killed a top Iranian military commander, one instance stood out: an argument between Geraldo Rivera and Brian Kilmeade on Fox & Friends over whether the action was a wise one.
The ramifications of the U.S. drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, the top military official in Iran and mastermind of terrorist attacks throughout the region, dominated news coverage throughout the morning. But the promise of retaliation by Iran, along with the potential further destabilization of the region, raised doubts in the minds of those who have been among Trump’s defenders.
“This is huge,” Rivera said. “That does not mean that I believe that this was a smart move. We have been fighting bees. Bees have been swarming all over us. … What we have done is kill the queen bee. The hive is now busted open. I fear the worst. I think that what we have done is unleash the bees.”
He said that the United States “won the victory” in tamping down the protests that threatened the U.S. embassy in Iraq, but “now we have taken this huge military escalation. Now I fear the worst.”
Kilmeade, though, insisted that the U.S. action was justified, claiming that Rivera was “making excuses for Iran.”
“Your arrogance was exactly what is wrong with the region,” Rivera shot back.
Their voices raised, they then spent about 20 seconds talking over each other.
“Don’t for a minute cheer this on,” Rivera said.
“I will cheer it on,” Kilmeade said.
“Then you, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn’t like,” Rivera responded.
That is not true, and don’t even say that,” Kilmeade said.
Later, Rivera went on Kilmeade’s radio show and apologized. “You know, I didn’t mean anything personally,” he said. “You know I’m your biggest fan in this building and in this town. I think you really have a total grasp on issues that is profoundly securing — you know, reaffirming, reassuring for us. I just disagree on this issue of killing Soleimani.”
As news of the attack was emerging on Thursday evening, Fox News host Tucker Carlson criticized the action.
“There’s been virtually no debate or even discussion about this, but America appears to be lumbering toward a new Middle East war,” he said on Tucker Carlson Tonight. “We have to say it is one that official Washington has wanted for decades.”
He went on to call those advocating war with Iran “reckless and incompetent” and that they were the same people who want U.S. citizens to ignore the “threat” of illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.