The cable news tête-à-tête between California Rep. Maxine Waters and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly began this morning on Fox and Friends. That show’s hosts asked O’Reilly to watch a video of Waters speaking on the floor of the House, and O’Reilly’s blatantly racist response ignited a firestorm that most recently ended with Waters ripping the right-wing host a new one.
In Waters’ speech on the House floor, she said, “We stand up for America oftentimes when others who think they are more patriotic, who say they are more patriotic, do not. When we fight against this president, and we point out how dangerous he is for this society and for this country, we’re fighting for the democracy. We’re fighting for America.”
As Fox and Friends showed her speech in split-screen with O’Reilly’s reaction, the talking head of the GOP could be seen sarcastically nodding along, mouthing things and raising his fist mockingly. After the clip was over, O’Reilly responded, “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig. If we have a picture of James Brown, it’s the same one.” The segments two male hosts — Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy — giggled like schoolgirls, while the show’s female host, Ainsley Earnhardt, responded, “I have to defend her on that. You can’t go after a woman’s looks. I think she’s very attractive.”
O’Reilly immediately attempted to backtrack his childish remark, saying “I love you, Maxine, I want to see you on the Factor [his Fox News show]” before the segment ended.
Watch Bill O’Reilly’s flat-out racist remark below:
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 28, 2017
It wasn’t until this afternoon that O’Reilly released a written statement:
As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs. I said that again today on Fox & Friends calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.
That apology, however, was pretty much overshadowed by his segment on The O’Reilly Factor tonight, in which he insists Waters should appear on his show but would never agree to take up the offer — “Way too risky,” he says.
While he ended his laughably arrogant segment by saying “Questioning the patriotism of others and bashing a new president isn’t patriotic, it’s useless,” the hypocrisy was surely lost on him: Just earlier today he decided to bash a female member of Congress on national television — not on the merits of an argument but for her appearance.
But it’s Waters who had the last laugh, responding to the hullabaloo tonight alongside MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.
“I’m a strong, black woman. I cannot be intimidated, I cannot be undermined, I cannot be thought to be afraid of Bill O’Reilly or anybody,” Waters told Hayes. She also addressed the women who may be watching: “Don’t allow these right-wing talking heads, these dishonorable people, to intimidate or scare you. Be who you are and do what you do.” Then she made mention of the numerous sexual harassment lawsuits O’Reilly and former Fox News head Roger Ailes have settled out of court. Zing!
“When a woman stands up and speaks truth to power, there will be attempts to put her down,” says Waters. “And so I’m not going to be put down. I’m not going to go anywhere. I’m going to stay on the issues.”
Watch Maxine Waters’ takedown of Bill O’Reilly below:
Rep. Maxine Waters just now. Hot damn! pic.twitter.com/bAirCIFrUG
— Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) March 29, 2017
We’ll leave you with this compilation of O’Reilly’s past racist remarks:
— Media Matters (@mmfa) March 28, 2017