Fox Host Questions Whether Muslim Rep. Omar is ‘an American First’, Then Tries to Clarify
NEW YORK (AP) — Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said Wednesday that Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade is guilty of a “dangerous incitement” for questioning her loyalty to the United States, since she’s been the subject of death threats in the past.
Kilmeade said on a “Fox & Friends” segment about the freshman Democrat that “you have to wonder if she’s an American first.”
Fox News had no immediate comment about Kilmeade, the second Fox personality in a month to attract attention for comments about Omar. Fox condemned and suspended Saturday host Jeanine Pirro for two weeks after she wondered aloud whether Omar’s use of a Muslim head covering indicated she was a follower of Islamic religious law.
“My love and commitment to our country and that of my colleagues should never be questioned,” Omar said via Twitter on Wednesday. “We are ALL Americans.”
Kilmeade’s comment came during a morning show segment that appeared inspired by an item on the conservative Daily Caller web site a day before on April 9. It was about a speech Omar gave on March 23 to the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles chapter.
She talked at the event about how many Muslim-Americans felt like second-class citizens in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She said the rights organization started because “some people did something
and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
That reference to the attacks — “some people did something” — struck some of Omar’s critics as a too-flippant description of the assailants that day.
“I didn’t intend to question whether Rep. Omar is an American,” Kilmeade said via Twitter. “I am questioning how any American, let alone a United States congresswoman, could downplay the 9/11 attacks.”
It’s notable that neither Kilmeade nor Pirro — despite her suspension — apologized or distanced themselves from what they said once it started receiving attention.
A spokesman for Omar did not immediately respond to questions about the criticism she has received about her reference to the attacks. Omar was due to appear later Wednesday with Stephen Colbert on CBS’s “Late Show.”
Omar called on politicians of both parties to unite in condemning Kilmeade. He’s one of three co-hosts of Fox’s morning show along with Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt.