A panel on CNN’s New Day morning program criticized Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday after he suggested that Representative Ilhan Omar should never have been allowed to enter the U.S. and classifying her as a “warning to the rest of us” to change the country’s immigration system.
Host John Berman started the segment by saying he doesn’t like to be the “media watchdog” for CNN’s competitors, but classified Carlson’s attack on Omar as “something remarkable.”
“Tucker Carlson suggested – he didn’t suggest, he flat out said – that a sitting member of the U.S. Congress should never have been allowed in the United States,” Berman explained, before playing a clip of the Fox News’ host’s remarks.
In the clip, Carlson can be heard saying: “Ilhan Omar is living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country.”
“So, be grateful for Ilhan Omar, annoying as she is. She’s a living fire alarm, a warning to the rest of us that we better change our immigration system immediately, or else,” the Fox News host said.
CNN contributor Bianna Golodryga, who is herself an immigrant, pointed out that she came to the U.S. as a political refugee, similar to Omar. She slammed Carlson for attacking the congresswoman instead of celebrating her as an achievement “of what a special country this is,” pointing out that the Omar originally came to the U.S. with her family fleeing a life of fear and insecurity.
After the panel discussed in detail what they saw as wrong with Carlson’s comments, Berman pointed out that many just see the remarks as “flat out racist.”
“You know, there’s a lot of an attempt here to create intellectual depth to what, to many, just is a racist comment, a flat out racist comment, or offensive comment suggesting that people shouldn’t be allowed in the country,” he said.
Omar herself responded to the attack on Twitter, mocking Carlson as a “fool.”
“Not gonna lie, it’s kinda fun watching a racist fool like this weeping about my presence in Congress,” the representative wrote on Twitter. “No lies will stamp out my love for this country or my resolve to make our union more perfect. They will just have to get used to calling me Congresswoman!”
Since she was elected to represent Minnesota in the 2018 midterm election, Omar has quickly risen as a key member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She has helped champion the Green New Deal, supported Medicare-for-all and has been a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community. Omar is also one of just two Muslim women serving in Congress, the other being fellow freshmen progressive Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Omar has frequently been attacked by right-wing commentators. Fox News previously rebuked its controversial conservative host Jeanine Pirro after she questioned the congresswoman’s loyalty to the U.S. on her show earlier this year.
“Think about it: Omar wears a hijab,” Pirro said at the time. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”
Fox News suspended the program for a few weeks, also issuing the following statement:
“We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar,” the network said. “They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”
*see full story by NewsWeek